Sunday 7 March 2010

Afghan Plan

England are in the midst of a five-year plan to become the number one Test team and win a major limited overs trophy. Five years? Hopelessly unambitious.

Twenty years ago, cricket in Afghanistan didn't exist. Ten years ago, it was banned by the Taliban. Until a few years ago, it was less popular than rugby on horseback with a sheep's carcass for a ball. 

Now Afghanistan are the twelfth best T20 team in the world. The players get a maximum of £200 per month, meaning that it would take them around three and a half years to earn enough to download Lalit Modi's tender form for new IPL teams. There will be an Afghani player in the IPL before then.

Life's not so bad for the team. They've been given laptops and parades, and posters line the streets of Kabul and Jalalabad. 'In the shops,' says all-rounder Raees Ahmadzai, 'whenever we buy something, we get another thing free...'

They beat Ireland to get to the World T20 and then a couple of days after that chased out 494 to win a four-day game against Canada. 

Their coach, Kabir Khan, told the Observer, 'During the cricket, the guns are put down'.

Now that's a plan. 


reina said...

Love this! I've gushed about these guys ad nauseum on my own blog, I love seeing them written about.

I got to see them play the T20 Qualifiers in Dubai and it was awesome. The fan presence was just spectacular, too: got a few photos from the stadium up here if you're interested. They're on the earlier pages (2 and 3)

Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

I like the comment "During the cricket, the guns are put down".

You can just imagine people now believing that the Afgan team is the Taliban on a sabbatical, and that they will hide their AK47's under their hotel beds until they get knocked out of the World T20.

It might go some way to explaining why Raees Ahmadzai claims they always get something free from the shops though!

The Old Batsman said...

Thanks Reina, have blogrolled you.

Dean - yes was going to make a glib comment about getting the same thing over here in Sainsbury's but probably best not to...!