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May 27, 2006
Afghanistan will tour England, playing Essex, Glamorgan and Leicestershire 2nd XIs during their 18-day trip which kicks-off on June 11.
"This year is very important for our cricket," Taj Malik Alam, their coach, told the BBC. "I think it will be a turning point and if we win all the matches then we can get the attention of the international cricket community. We have a long way to go but we really want to participate in the World Cup and become one of the best teams in the world."
"It is a great honour to play in England," said Dawlat Khan Ahmadzai, one of the squad. "Everyone is waiting for us to go, they want to see what we can do and we want to make the most of this opportunity."
In March, the Afghan side beat an MCC XI, skippered by Mike Gatting, in a game played at Mumbai.
Cricket is now Afghanistan's third most popular sport, behind buzkashi and football.
Money raised from the tour will be used to help fund the building of a cricket ground in Kabul.
June 11 - Hoddesdon
June 14 - Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
June 15 - Glamorgan 2nd XI, Swansea
June 19 - Loughborough UCCE
June 20 - Essex 2nd XI, Billericay
June 21 - Leicestershire 2nd XI, Hinckley Town
June 22 - Ditchling CC, Sussex
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?