Thursday, February 9, 2012


In less than 20 hours from now, Afghanistan will play against their neighbour Pakistan in an ODI at Sharjah. It will be the first time that Afghanistan will be competing against a Test-playing nation in an ODI. Their first Test-playing opponent in a Twenty20 International had been India during the World Twenty20 Championships 2010. Now they play the longer version of the game against a country with whom they share a longer border.

The Afghan team has been very impressive in its short cricketing journey thus far. Those who have watched the movie 'Out of the Ashes' will know about their rise from the World Cricket League Division 5 through to the ODI status. And it did not stop there. They won the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2009-10, by managing 6 outright wins in 7 First Class games, including the finals against Scotland at Dubai. In the current version of the same (i.e. ICC Intercontinental Cup 2011-13), they are standing currently at the 3rd position after 2 matches, behind Ireland and United Arab Emirates.

No one really expects Afghanistan to beat Pakistan in the one-off ODI to be played tomorrow at Sharjah. But what everyone would dearly like to see is a good fight. They are unlikely to match the Pakistan team in skills, but who wouldn't love to see them show some spark on the field!

Their next major assignment after this ODI shall be the World Twenty20 Championship Qualifiers to be held in mid-March, followed by the World Cricket League Championship (2 ODIs) and the ICC Intercontinental Cup (1 four-day First Class match) assignments against the Netherlands at their adopted home grounds in the UAE.

They have been now, for quite some time, a team that I have fascinatingly followed. I wish them all the luck in these fixtures, and hope that their fairytale stretches on for a long time.

No comments: