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Claire Stewart, in the Sydney Morning Herald, details her journey exploring what cricket meant in Afghanistan. She learns the passion it brings forth, with the President said to have called the Afghanistan team the new national army. Support for the women's game, though, is less forthcoming under present conditions and wandering to the stadium without company is unsafe for the same reason. Still with Mohammad Nabi's men, beating a Test nation in their first Asia Cup and qualifying for the World Cup in 2015, cricket is seen as more than an a mere sport.
The only external cricket representative not to let security concerns keep him from visiting the ACB in Kabul during the past 12 years is former Pakistani player, and now ACC representative, Iqbal Sikander. He sits in Murad's office discussing the economic viability of different equipment providers while recounting tales of his time in Australia as part of Pakistan's victory in the 1992 World Cup. "Our only objective is that we want cricket bats in the hands of the youngsters instead of guns," says Sikander. "We want them to stay away from drugs and trouble."
Japan's Shizuka Miyaji is currently training with the New South Wales Women's team, sharpening her chinaman skills under the watchful eye of captain Alex Blackwell. Her six-month stint in Sydney is a considerable step up, after some of the other means Miyaji had to use to learn the game, writes Carly Adno in Australia's Telegraph.
"These kids learn how to play cricket from watching on Youtube. They'll be watching Shane Warne bowl his leg breaks and then you see them go out and try to do the same," Blackwell said. Miyaji is training with NSW and playing first-grade cricket with Universities and Blackwell is confident she will make enormous strides during her time in Australia. "So that's really how the kids in Japan become familiar with cricket because it isn't on live TV anywhere."
Ireland versus England is never short of interest and Malahide could not have hoped for a better introduction to the world stage. Home captain William Porterfield struck a century to ignite hopes of another famous upset. But his opposite number and fellow Irishman, Eoin Morgan's skill at controlling the chase fetched him a ton and England the victory. Despite the loss, Sport for business believes the game provided an occasion for the fans, journalists, people in political office and from industry to realise the market for cricket in Ireland.
The best estimate of the financial exposure taken on to build a 10,000 seater temporary but international standard arena was between €375,000 and €400,000. When the final financial calculations are done they will likely show that a small cash profit was made. In straitened times that is important but the real and invaluable benefit lies in the establishment of the sport in the public eye as a serious endeavour, with the scope for young players to advance, and as a medium for corporate investment that delivers a return.
In his time with Kenya, Aasif Karim has enjoyed some unforgettable highs, even if they were sprinkled between his team's struggle to cope in the international arena. Aditya Iyer of the Indian Express caught up with the former Kenya captain, who recalled his side's startling victory over West Indies in the 1996 World Cup, his ouster and subsequent retirement after the 1999 tournament and a surprise call-up for 2003 edition.
"I couldn't believe it. The same selector who had sacked me wanted me to be part of the World Cup team. I hadn't played a competitive match since 1999. But he was adamant," he says. Fast forward a couple of months and we meet our protagonist, wearing the green and red in Kingsmead. "There I was, too old to play cricket four years ago. Not only was I here, but Kenya had qualified for the semifinals of the World Cup," says Karim. "In front of me were the mighty Aussies. In a Super Sixes match. And behind me was a scoreboard that read: Karim: 8-6-3-3."