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Afghanistan get Associate membership

Nagraj Gollapudi

June 28, 2013

Comments: 79 | Text size: A | A

Afghanistan's players celebrate their qualification for the ICC World Twenty20, Afghanistan v Namibia, ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, Dubai, March 22, 2012
Afghanistan have played in two World Twenty20s (2010 and 2012) so far © Getty Images
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Afghanistan have been granted the Associate membership of the ICC to become the 37th country to get that status. The decision was taken by the ICC at its ongoing annual conference, which ends on June 29 in London. The nomination request had been sent by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) last year based on the continuous progress made by Afghanistan, especially in its cricket development.

"Afghanistan is the only country that receives the Associate membership in a short period of time in reward to the efforts Afghanistan made for the promotion of cricket," Dr Noor Muhammad, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), said on the ACC website. Becoming an Associate would mean higher funding and, importantly, more exposure for the passionate and cricket-starved players from Afghanistan, a war-torn country. So far, the ICC was paying $700,000 in annual funding to Afghanistan, which is now likely to rise to $850,000 based on the Associate status.

Afghanistan became an Affiliate member of the ICC in 2001 when they travelled to Pakistan for their first tour. Languishing at one time in the fifth division of the World Cricket League, Afghanistan won the hearts of global cricket fans when they nearly qualified for the 2011 World Cup, but they lost to Canada and could not surpass Kenya's net run rate in the World Cup qualifiers. Immediately, they were granted the ODI status, valid until 2013.

One of the fascinating tales in cricket (a documentary based on their rise in cricket Out of the Ashes was produced a few years ago), Afghanistan have also featured in the last two editions of the ICC's World Twenty20 (2010 and 2012). They have played ODIs against two Test-playing nations so far, Pakistan and Australia, and despite losing both the matches, players like Hamid Hassan and Mohammad Nabi turned heads with their impressive performances.

Over the last two years, the ACB has undergone organisational restructuring in a bid to provide better leadership and find qualified staff to run cricket administration. They are currently developing their domestic cricket infrastructure, and have signed a two-year deal with the Pakistan Cricket Board for the development of Afghanistan cricket ahead of the 2015 World Cup. The ICC has played a big role in the upliftment of Afghanistan cricket and in April this year, granted $422,000 as part of the targeted assistance programme.

Afghanistan is the eighth country in the Asian region to become an Associate member after Hong Kong (1969), Kuwait (2005), Malaysia (1967), Nepal (1996), Singapore (1974), Thailand (2005) and UAE (1990). "It is a tremendous achievement by Afghanistan, the current administrators have worked very hard to advance Afghanistan's interests and much credit goes to Dr Noor and his team at the Afghanistan Cricket Board," Bandula Warnapura, ACC development manager, said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 22:02 GMT)

Finally. A day to remember in the history of our country which has registered only war in last couple of decades. These guys have made us proud and beleive it or not, I have read this news couple of times and each time I almost cry of joy. Way to go guys. It was an honor meeting you guys twice here and may Allah bless you guys and bring peace to our country. Congrats to all cricket lovers all over the world and specially Afghan cricket lovers.

Posted by Mirkhan786 on (July 2, 2013, 0:26 GMT)

Congratulations to all Afghans around the world. It was the performances of our players that we get this status today. Proud of Our Heroes! Every Afghan, particularly the young generation should take our players as models and perform as them in order to reach to a prosperous Afghanistan. I am really very very happy that we have cricket in afghanistan I am really proud

Posted by Udendra on (July 1, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

It's a duty of Regional 'seniors' like Pakistan, India & Sri Lanka to provide AFG with more playing opportunities, at least in their domestic levels.

Posted by Anil_Koshy on (July 1, 2013, 5:09 GMT)

ICC should organise a champions trophy like event for leading associate nations like Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Namibia and Nepal and to bring competitiveness they shall include Zimbabwe and Bangladesh who otherwise don't get a chance to play in Champions trophy.

Posted by Timmuh on (July 1, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

This is good news and small recognition for some large strides made in the worst imaginable circumstances. That the Afghan team has been able to acheive a high level of cohesion given the sate of the nation is remarkable. As others have said, the likes of Afghanistan and Ireland need a pathway to Test cricket now. First Class games against professional teams, limitd overs games against full member nations, etc. They need to be challenged, and meet the challeges, so that the door to Test cricket is open. It is the responsibiity of full member nations to provide that path, only with our help can the highest level of the game go to new frontiers.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

Congratulations to all Afghans around the world

Posted by   on (June 30, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Congrats Afghan Cricket! Well Deserved!!!

Posted by calcu on (June 30, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

@gnanzcupid I agree. Future of SL really looks bleak

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