Afghanistan Cricket Team Makes Us Proud

Afghanistan faced Pakistan for the very first time in the T20 international cricket match on Sunday evening in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

cricket-afghanistan-pakistanFor war ravaged Afghanistan, reigned by unrest during the last four decades, deprived of adequate sports infrastructure and proper government support, playing against the Pakistan cricket team – a full member nation and undoubtedly one of the best in the game – was itself a big moment.

Most Afghan players learned to play cricket in the streets and clubs of Pakistan during their stay as refugees. The idea of playing against the national team of Pakistan must have been overwhelming with the likes of Shahid Afridi, who remains favorite player for most Afghans.

To begin with, Afghanistan won the toss and chose to bat first but the start was disastrous and seemed as if it was going to be a one-sided match. However, the middle order showed character and put up a sizable total of 137 on the scoreboard. In order to defend the target, Afghanistan’s bowlers dragged the match to the very last ball, continuously mounting the pressure on Pakistan’s batsmen.

It could have turned either way in the last over but the calm and experienced Pakistani side proved too good in the nail-biting finish, clinching a nerve jangling victory against Afghanistan.

It is noteworthy that the fast rising Afghanistan team has already qualified for the T20 World Cup 2014 and ODI World Cup 2015, by winning the qualifying round matches held earlier this year. Moreover, Afghanistan has the highest winning percentage among all the associate teams. Keeping in view their latest performance against Pakistan, they have shown the capability to challenge any team in the world, provided they are given constant exposure to international matches with full member teams.

Coming back to the Sunday’s game, it was interesting on many levels. For the very first time in cricket history, announcements were made in Afghanistan’s Pashto language which was a treat to hear. Moreover, the crowd was predominantly supporting the Afghanistan team with all the zest and zeal. Most importantly, the match was played in great spirits between both countries, which is a positive sign and may serve as a confidence building measure for future bilateral relations.

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To conclude, though Pakistan secured the well deserved victory, Afghanistan won our hearts and made us proud with the way they played. Earlier this year, Afghanistan became the South Asian Football Champions and if peace flourishes in the country, Afghanistan has the potential to do wonders on the international level.

Ahmad Zubair is an Afghan national, living in Peshawar, Pakistan. He is a freelance writer and poet, and Editor of The Faultlines. His interests revolve around politics, social issues, religion and extremism. Follow Ahmad on Twitter @AhmaddZubair and contact him at Read other articles by Ahmad.