December 1, 2010

Afghanistan

We need exposure against the top teams

Akhila Ranganna

Hamid Hassan

What a year it has been for Afghanistan cricket! Winning the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Dubai in February was a moment I will never forget; having the chance to play India and South Africa at the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean was amazing and beating Pakistan at the Asian Games and securing a silver medal was one of the greatest moments of my career.

Obviously it would have been nice to have won gold but the fact that we pushed Bangladesh so close, particularly a strong team led by somebody as accomplished as Mohammad Ashraful, showed that we deserve a chance to play against the big teams on a more regular basis. We need exposure against some of the top ODI nations if we are to improve, and that is my main wish for 2011.

While the excitement of our Asian Games campaign won’t be forgotten in a hurry, we are all looking forward to our latest challenge, which is to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup against Scotland this week in Dubai. We beat Scotland in the group stages and have enjoyed a good record against them, but we know that we have to play well to beat them.

Although not that many cricket fans know too much about the ICC Intercontinental Cup, I think it is a really important tournament. My game has improved a lot as a result of playing in the tournament and that has helped me in the shorter format as well.

You certainly have to be a lot fitter to last a four-day game and I think that has helped us become a better fielding side as well. The fact that Ireland, who have set the standards in Associate cricket in recent times, have won the previous three titles, shows that you need to be an excellent team to win this trophy.

I am excited that the final is being played over five days as it will be like playing Test cricket, so I am keen to perform well. I think a five-day game makes you work harder to take wickets as there is less pressure on the batsmen to score quickly, so they take less risks.

We have been training at the new ICC Global Cricket Academy, which I am told is where the Pakistan and South Africa players prepared for the recent Test Match in Dubai, and it is an amazing facility. I wish we had something similar back home, but at least things are moving in the right direction in that regard and we are all excited about the building of new cricket stadiums in Kabul and Jalalabad. However, we need to have lots of pitches all over Afghanistan to ensure that in the future we can have the best young players in the world.

We have had our final day of training today ahead of the final starting on Thursday and I am hoping that thousands of Afghans living in Dubai will come and support us like they did at the Twenty20 Qualifier.

To lift another trophy this year would be a special moment for the team and I would quite like to add another medal to my collection.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by kanoon on (May 31, 2011, 9:26 GMT)

It is very disappointing that we loose all 3 matches from Pakistan A. But I hope Afghan National team can learn a lot of things from this series. And in future they will play with determination and responsibility. All the best Afghanistan. It is also very disturbing that our Main bowler Hameed Hassan was not fit and he was injured but a team can not rely only on one player. I pray for Hameed to become fine and healthy very soon. Allah mo Kamiab Lara.

Posted by khanshirsahel on (May 24, 2011, 8:51 GMT)

Hameed i proud of our all palyers they are very importent and very good guy i like my afghan teame and also proud of my yuong player i know that

Posted by Munir Ahmad on (April 10, 2011, 17:52 GMT)

We are with international teams and we have been building up this strong team i think with afew years we will be playing as a unbeatable international team ,, inshallah

Posted by Khalid Stanikzai on (March 26, 2011, 13:45 GMT)

Afghanistan is a good team now a days Afghanistan team beat to Iraland too mach time and Pakistan did lose in 2007 should ICC will meet with Afghanistan cricket broad after 2011 world cup to make for the team of Afghanistan to meet with top teams to play with them

Posted by Kerrie on (January 10, 2011, 19:32 GMT)

This is why ICC's decisoin to exclude associate teams from the World Cup 2013 and onward is a confusing one.

Posted by Abdullah on (January 8, 2011, 10:01 GMT)

Shame to Proud on Hamid hassan pakistani player he is 100 % Pakistani I know his family and brothers in peshawar If any one wish to prove him pakistani contact with me khan_haqmal@yahoo.com Abdullah Herat univeristy Engineering faculty

Posted by Lindsay-George-Hall on (January 1, 2011, 19:20 GMT)

I am new here. I am British and love cricket as I was brought up with it, so to speak, as a 'gentleman's game. It is a delicious surprise to learn that the Afghani side is beginning to assert itself in international cricket as well. Well done, boys, I will relish your future success.

L.

Posted by Khanzadah Waziri on (December 26, 2010, 14:23 GMT)

i'm ur fan Hamid. I hope Afghanistan win the cup....INSHAHALLAH!!! May ALLAH bless Afghanistan's cricket team.

Posted by hamid hassan on (December 24, 2010, 8:09 GMT)

thanx to all of you, by encouraging me. inshallah i will keep rocking, pray for our success.

Posted by Hameed Wafa on (December 23, 2010, 12:20 GMT)

Great perfommance by Afghan Cricket Team, there is no doubt that our players are playing with International Standards but Specially Hamid Hassan is really improving day by day, and he is qualified to play at any level of International Games, he is my favorite Cricker. Well Done Afghan Cricket Team,, Best of luck in the future, De Khuday Pa Aman....

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Akhila Ranganna
Assistant editor (Audio) Having a father who played in the Ranji Trophy against the likes of the legendary Pankaj Roy, cricket was in Akhila's blood. When a bachelor's degree in Literature was augmented by a master's in Mass Communication, she should have known that a career in journalism beckoned. But it took a joyless stint in public relations to push her to ESPN Star Sports, where she worked with the Sportscenter team and covered countless preparatory camps at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. As a happy coincidence this ran concurrently with a hobby stint as a radio jockey for a station playing old Hindi film music. She then joined ESPNcricinfo's audio team, where she has worked since October 2006.

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