February 5, 2009


Triumphant Afghanistan know 'main test' lies ahead

Martin Williamson

Afghanistan's victorious cricketers, who were the toast of Kabul on Tuesday, realise they will have to meet greater challenges in order to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. The team, whose top-place finish at the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 in Argentina earned them a spot at the World Cup Qualifiers in April, was greeted by enthusiastic fans on their return to Kabul, and even had a small parade through the city. However, the lack of financial backing remains a worry.

"We never even thought we could expect to do so well," the team's secretary-general, Taj Malik, told AFP. "But the team's main test is still ahead of us." Afghanistan need to make it to the semi-finals of the qualifying tournament in South Africa to ensure a place at the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent.

Afghanistan's progress towards the World Cup dream has been remarkable - they also won Divisions 4 and 5 - and Malik said the team's achievement was historic given that the they had come together in 2002, after the fall of the hardline Taliban regime. "We thought that maybe in 2015 or 2020 we could be where we are today."

He said the players will rest for 20 days before starting their preparations for the World Cup Qualifiers. "We will try to strengthen the weaknesses of our team. We will prepare our team for the toughness of the World Cup," he said.

Malik said the team, many of whose players honed their skills in refugee camps in Pakistan, had not got financial support from the government. "So far they have not been given a salary, no one has given them any benefits," he said. "It is important to improve the life of the players if we want to see them in the World Cup."


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Mohammad Nasir on (April 5, 2009, 5:19 GMT)

Does the world really wants to enjoy a new agressive form of Cricket?If so, Afghanistan emerges and I am right in my assessment that Afghanistan will prove itself worth by qualifying to the World Cup 2011. The hopes are not vanished and the time will come that ours would have a strong and unbeatable team on the Earth making out Australia and India.

Posted by Spinghar Safi on (February 12, 2009, 10:39 GMT)

Afghanistan Cricket team needs to work hard in the coming weeks and even if they are not happy with their goverment because of no financial support, still they have to work hard and win for the pride of Afghanistan. If the reach world cup and play well there then some of its players like hamid hassan might be called for IPL, ICL or county cricket. Because everyone knows that Afghan players are very talented!

Posted by Nasir Ahmad Khogiani on (February 12, 2009, 5:04 GMT)

Australia has a record of winning three world cups while Afghanistan has a record of wining three divisions in hit-track, the poor team and high hopes are incredible we will bombshell the world when we make it to WC 2011. I am sure the team is capable enough to beat some of the opposition; however Kenya and Netherland can be so dangerous Afghanistan squad for the past three divisions was pretty well, recently in an interview with BBC Kabir Khan has avowed that he knows some of the excellent afghan players and he will try his best to settle them in the qualifying crew. As an afghan cricketer and Capitan to Spin Ghar Cricket Club with the authority of local cricketers WE ARE 100% agree with his decision of course hundreds of afghan players are still playing in Pakistan it will be better to have on open trail for the selection the most narrow path which our team will cross has arrived we pray and you guys should do again let me remind you those words DO or DEI we are sure you guys will DO

Posted by ridhwan on (February 5, 2009, 11:35 GMT)

I THINK BOTH ACC AND ICC should step up to help Afghanistan cricket By Providing them financial help . I Wish My regards to Afghanistan team and hope that they they qualify for the world cup . And I think if they qualify for world cup , they may be able to upset some countries like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe , etc . My best wishes to all afghanistan players .

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Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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