Afghanistan news April 18, 2009

Afghanistan want to play Pakistan, Australia

Cricinfo staff

Afghanistan, the newest member of the ODI community, could look towards India as a "temporary base" to play matches because of the lack of facilities in their country and the unfavourable security situation in neighbouring Pakistan, team manager Sayed Aminzai has said.

Afghanistan achieved ODI status, and with it funding from the ICC, by finishing among the top six in the Super-Eight stage of the ongoing World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa. However, the option of staging matches at home is limited because of the lack of an international-standard pitch.

"As much as we would like to play in South Africa, it is too far from home and I believe Afghanistan officials will seriously consider India as a temporary base," Aminzai said. "Given a choice of opponents, I would want Afghanistan to play Pakistan owing to all the help they gave us in developing as a cricket nation and Australia because they are the world champions."

Achieving ODI status at the WCQ is the culmination of a journey that began with the World Cricket League Division Five in Jersey and involved tournaments in Tanzania and Argentina. Aminzai singled out captain Nowroz Mangal, opener Karim Khan and medium-pace bowler Hamid Hassan for their contributions to the team's success.

"Nowroz was a truly inspirational leader throughout our amazing journey, Karim scored the runs that mattered in so many games and Hamid took countless crucial wickets. We have learnt so much during the Qualifier. Mine is a happy team. We have come to so far so quickly that no one knows where we could end up."

Afghanistan will play Scotland in Benoni on Sunday, a match which will decide who finishes fifth in the Super Eight.