Raees Ahmadzai believes Afghanistan have the ability to beat any Test playing side © Getty Images
By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mumbai: Jan 4, 2013
The journey gets better and better for Afghanistan cricket with each passing month. Having qualified for the ICC World T20 2014 and the 2015 World Cup, the Mohammad Nabi-led side would now play the Asia Cup, a tournament that would feature India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It is a huge opportunity for the Afghanistan team as the tournament would be played amidst some fanfare as it features the big sides from the cricket crazy sub-continent.
Raees Ahmadzai, the former Afghanistan captain spoke to CricketCountry after it was announced that their side would feature in the Asia Cup.
“This news has brought a smile to the faces of the youth in Afghanistan. The players here are already celebrating. We heard the news from Ramiz Raja, Russel Arnold and Waqar Younis on commentary for the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.”
In the past, teams such as the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong have featured in the Asia Cup. However, they were beaten easily by the far superior sides, but expect Afghanistan to be a very different side. They have given ample proof of their competitive ability during their appearances at the previous two World T20s and a few One-Day Internationals (ODIs).
Ahmadzai says, “Our team has the ability to beat a Test side. Even if it doesn’t happen, I am sure we will find a chance later. We have one of the best sides in Asia and that is why I am sure the T20 World Cup and the Asia Cup is a golden opportunity. Sorry, if we don’t beat a big side during these tournaments. It will take us long time to get such golden chances.”
To say that Afghanistan’s story has been a fairytale has been an understatement. Like most of his former teammates, Ahmadzai also started playing in refugee camps during the Soviet conflict.
“We tried very hard to play the Asia Cup and dreams do come true,” Ahmadzai concludes.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)