Afghanistan’s cricketers hope to lift a nation pounded by decades of conflict with their new pride as only the 12th Test nation. Cricket is a “hope for treasure” in Afghanistan, according to India’s Permanent Representative in UN ,Syed Akbaruddin.
The match from June 14 against India in Bangalore capped one of the great sporting fairy tales after players from the war-torn nation rose from refugee camps to join cricket’s elite.
As Islamist attacks regularly shake their homeland, captain Asghar Stanikzai said his team are shaken too, but are also motivated to give the country something to cheer.
Akbaruddin cited the emergence of the Afghan team as “the new sensation in the cricketing arena” as one of the symbols of this hope. “Leaving behind the memories when sports was explicitly banned by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” the nation’s team has been “achieving extraordinary success,a he said.
Having qualified for the next Cricket World Cup, Afghanistan played its first game as a Test cricket playing nation in June at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru when it took on India, he said.
“While having made cricket grounds in India their home base, Afghan cricketers have flourished,” he said, adding, “However, we look forward to the day when we too can play cricket with them on their soil.”
The resilience of the Afghan people was being tried by the terrorist onslaught like the spring offensive from the Taliban that has taken many lives, he said.
“Such offensives are planned and launched from safe havens in the neighborhood of Afghanistan,” Akbaruddin said pointing fingers at Pakistan.
“Notwithstanding the efforts made by the international community there are still those who provide sanctuaries to support the dark agendas of terrorist organisations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, IS, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad,” he said.>