Afghanistan have won the Laureus "Spirit of Sport" award in recognition of their swift rise in world cricket and their maiden qualification to the one-day World Cup. Afghanistan have also qualified for two successive World T20s, and are now established as one of the strongest teams outside the Test nations.
"Afghanistan's success on the pitch has, indeed, captured the imagination of the whole cricketing world," a Laureus release said, after the awards ceremony in Kuala Lumpur. "The enthusiasm for the game shown especially by young players, often against almost insurmountable odds in terms of pitches and facilities, is a story being told again and again."
Noor Mohammad Murad, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, accepted the award on behalf of the team. "We are very proud to receive Spirit of Sport Award," Noor said, "it recognises the hard work of players, officials and administrators over the past 12 years in building cricket in our country.
"Cricket is more than a game in Afghanistan. It is a tool which is making an impact in the development of peace, unity and development. I am sure this award will motivate us in continuing to build cricket and its impact in our country."
The Laureus World Sports Awards, regarded as the "Oscars of sports", are held annually, to celebrate the greatest achievements in sport. Previous cricketing winners of the award include Steve Waugh's Australia team, which was named "Team of the year" in 2002.