February 1, 2009

Afghanistan

Hamid Hassan - All set for celebrations in Kabul

Will Luke
Afghanistan captain Nowroz Mangal lifts the trophy, Afghanistan v Cayman Islands, World Cricket League Division 3, Buenos Aires, January 31, 2009
 © ICC/CricketEurope
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Hamid Hassan

It is hard to describe how excited I am at Afghanistan reaching the World Cup Qualifiers. When I think that we came so close to being defeated by Cayman Islands on Friday and getting knocked out, I still can’t believe that the rain saved us from defeat!

Thankfully the performance on Saturday was much better and we finally made some runs in this tournament, before Mohammad Nabi and I shared most of the wickets when we were bowling.

When the game finished we still didn’t know where we had finished in the table and then somebody came over to tell our manager that we were the Division 3 Champions and we just started jumping around in our changing room and singing!

We then travelled to Belgrano, which is the main ground in Argentina, where there were still lots of people waiting to see the presentation despite the fact the game at that ground had finished over one hour earlier. We got a really nice round of applause and then we were presented with the trophy. I had lots of television interviews to do before I could join my team mates in the celebrations!

I am about to fly back to Afghanistan tonight from Buenos Aires Airport, but it is such a long journey we will not get back home until Tuesday. There will be lots of people waiting for us in Kabul and I am very excited about seeing them. When we won Division 4 in Tanzania there were lots of people at the airport so, as we have won Division 3, there will be even more people there, blocking the roads and celebrating by banging drums.

I really enjoy the celebrations as we have such great fans. The people in Afghanistan pray for us and are waiting for the trophy to come home so we can all celebrate together.

After the celebrations in Kabul, I will go home to Peshawar for a couple of days and then head to play first-class cricket in Pakistan. We then will have a training camp in early March, which will hopefully help our preparations ahead of the Qualifiers. We had a camp in Lahore before this tournament, where I was coached by some of the greats of the game, and I hope I will be able to learn a lot more about the physical and mental side of the game.

We are all really excited about the challenge of playing against the best Associate teams. We know that we have to improve on our batting as I think we are capable of doing much better. We have proved in Division 3, 4 and 5 of the World Cricket League that we have a great bowling attack and that is our strength, but we need to start scoring at least 200 runs as it will be harder against the stronger teams. I think our batters have the talent to score at least 250.

It will be amazing playing against some of the top Associate teams that I have watched play on television at previous World Cups, but we will remember if Ireland can beat Pakistan and Kenya can get to the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, then we can also cause some surprises. If I have learnt anything from the game against the Cayman Islands, it is that anything can happen in cricket!

I am looking forward to playing against people like Steve Tikolo from Kenya and Jeremy Bray from Ireland and we will be really happy to have the chance to play against such good players.

Finally, I would like to thank everybody who has read my column this week and for all of the messages. All the team used to gather around the computer in the evenings to read all of the comments from fans and all of the messages of encouragement were a real inspiration for us.

I hope you will continue to support us and bring us luck at the World Cup Qualifier as we are all desperate to play ODI cricket and reach 2011.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Charmetrepe on (February 12, 2010, 13:23 GMT)

Hi all,

my friend told me about this forum so i decided to sign up.

hopefully i can participate in some lively discussions here!

looking forward to talking to you all. :)

Posted by anwar khan zadran,london on (April 15, 2009, 15:50 GMT)

ohhhh my god we defeet scotland this is brillant afghans my great nation we will keep afghan flag top on the world

Posted by Abdul Qayyum on (April 3, 2009, 6:49 GMT)

Well done afghanistan i will pray for all the guyes to win the tournament best of luck to the world cup qualifying in south africa.thanks

Posted by sediq heran on (April 1, 2009, 22:48 GMT)

i am proud of guys well done.sediq heran from belgium

Posted by Aimal Hakim on (February 16, 2009, 10:51 GMT)

Gr8 Job and what a wonderful achievement!

Congrats to all the Afghan nation. It is really a moment of joy, glory and fame seeing Afghanistan polishing their talent and shining swiftly. The passion every cricket lover has is a good means to unity in the country. Let me also thank my Pakistani and India fellows for their nice comments and promising wishes.

Every match we followed, every moment we prayed and all the refreshes we made during matches were well responded by the National team and that is why everyone is saying "You deserve to play at 2011 world cup".

Long live Afghanistan and see you soon @ world cup 2011.

Posted by OldTimer on (February 6, 2009, 22:16 GMT)

I am from India, but to me the Afghanis are brothers as well. Our great poet, Tagore, wrote a story called "Kabuliwallah" which was made into a fine film-- and Hamid Karzai and family have lived in India, and he was guest of honour riding with our President at our Republic Day parade celebrations. This is also one thing in which Indians and Pakistanis are completely united, as well-- and you dont have to be a Muslim to appreciate Afghanistan, all you must do is to appreciate real Afghani seekh kebab and your heavenly firni. :-). Seriously, guys, congrats again and see you at the World Cup.

Posted by obaidullah ahmadzai on (February 6, 2009, 19:50 GMT)

i just wish u all guys good luck in south africa i hope u can make it to world cup and in about 3 or 4 years time i will be in afghanistan cricket team at the moment im playing county matches and getting good couching from county cricket couches afghanistan opening batts man should try hard and work on its batting GOOD LUCK

Posted by obaidullah ahmadzai on (February 6, 2009, 19:49 GMT)

i just wish u all guys good luck in south africa i hope u can make it to world cup and in about 3 or 4 years time i will be in afghanistan cricket team at the moment im playing county matches and getting good couching from county cricket couches afghanistan opening batts man should try hard and work on its batting GOOD LUCK

Posted by gautham kamath on (February 5, 2009, 20:35 GMT)

congrats Afghanistan... iam an Indian cricket fan and i hope Afghanistan qualify for the 2011 WC.

Posted by Karthik on (February 4, 2009, 8:11 GMT)

congrats to afghan Team well done guys

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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