Home > News >

Asia Cup 2014: Afghanistan cricketers redefining heroism

Afghanistan cricketers have impressed one and all © AFP
Afghanistan cricketers have impressed one and all © AFP

Mirpur: Mar 5, 2014

They may be tournament-debutantes but Afghanistan have managed to impress one and all with their resolute and sprightly performances in the Asia Cup 2014, redefining heroism for the war-ravaged nation.

“Cricket is changing the war-ravaged Afghanistan for better. For the today’s youth, the heroes have changed. It’s no more the war mafias but the cricketing heroes who’s shaping their lives,” Afghanistan journalist Matiullah Abid Noor, who is here to cover the Asia Cup for the Voice of America, told PTI.

It’s the same Afghanistan team which sought the Indian team members’ autographs four years ago during their maiden World Twenty20 appearance in the West Indies.

“It was their first ever meeting with their icons. The likes of Mahendra Sing Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh meant huge to them,” the 40-year-old journalist, who is based in Washington, said.

“Our wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad is a great fan of Dhoni and calls himself ‘MS’. He even has a Dhoni-like hairstyle.”

Afghanistan made their biggest leap yet qualifying for the World Cup 2015 after finishing second behind Ireland in the World Cricket League that was held in Sharjah in October last year.

Afghanistan have not looked back since then as they recorded their first ever win over a Test side, when they defeated Bangladesh by 32 runs here on March 1.

“The qualification was one great thing to have happened for the country. Apart from getting cash incentives, the cricketers were given flats. It’s cricket, cricket everywhere now. Such has been the impact that the youth are busy playing cricket now. They don’t have time for other antisocial activities.”

“Three decades ago, Afghanistan used to be all about mafia, drug dealing, terrorism. But cricket is changing the country for good. Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran are their heroes now,” Noor said.

“The President, Hamid Karzai, is a big fan of cricket. In fact he spoke to the team after their historic win against Bangladesh.”

It has been a remarkable journey for Afghanistan who were playing in the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in 2008. In 2010, they qualified for the World Twenty20 West Indies 2010 by winning the World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2010.

They then finished second to Ireland in the World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2012 to qualify for the World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012. Afghanistan finished runners-up a second time to Ireland at the qualifying event in 2013 to make it to this year’s World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Afghanistan are clubbed with Bangladesh in group A and they kick off the tournament on March 16 in the qualifying round. Group A and B toppers will make the main round and Afghanistan now have their eyes on the premier tournament. In such a case, the host nation would strangely be not playing the tournament.

“As our coach [Kabir Khan] has already said, Afghanistan will be a force to reckon with in the shortest format, especially after our win against Bangladesh. I’m sure they will live up to the fast and furious tag.”

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs South Zone, final at Delhi Day 3: Jalaj Saxena brings up half-century

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi Day 2

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

Jesse Ryder claims he still has the passion to represent New Zealand in the ICC World Cup 2015

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Allan Border claims Michael Clarke’s field setting ‘against spirit of cricket’

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: David Warner to keep wickets after Brad Haddin injures shoulder

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Ali Murtaza, Piyush Chawla restrict South Zone to 379; Central trail by 35 runs at lunch

Jesse Ryder gets World Cup 2015 lifeline; picked for New Zealand A squad to tour UAE

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Younis Khan’s ban: why the ICC is justified

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here