But That is Cricket for You!
The headline "World Twenty20 Cricket: Luke Wright helps England crush Afghanistan". Not a Surprise – the world champions beating Afghanistan. But hey the country’s name was Afghanistan – Did not know they played Cricket, must investigate!
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Seeing the headline “World Twenty20 Cricket: Luke Wright helps England crush Afghanistan” was not really a surprise, England are currently the world champions and need to be defeating the smaller cricketing nations if they stand any chance of retaining the trophy. The surprise here was finding the name of the losing nation, Afghanistan, I never even knew that they played cricket there.
An international cricketing nation, this is certainly a different image than most of us imagine. It contrasts with many of the images of this war-torn nation that most of us are familiar with and the brutality we hear about frequently in newscasts. Even if you know nothing about the sport of Cricket you will know that is it a calm sport, that was originally a gentleman’s game. Cricket provides an image 180 degrees different from that normally seen on newscasts.
No reason why they should not of course play cricket, the country had once been under British rule, and cricket had been introduced into so many of its former colonies, many playing the sport passionately today. It is even played here in Canada, although not as popular as Ice Hockey, Baseball, or Canadian Football. Apparently cricket has been played in Afghanistan since the early 19th-century, when played by British troops stationed in the capital Kabul. Despite all sports being banned by the Taliban regime it seems that many Afghans who returned home after living in countries such as Pakistan brought the game with them and indeed became the only sport approved in the country in the year 2000.
An Afghan Cricket Board was setup by ex-partiots in 1995 and once the sport gained government approval the Afghanistan Cricket Federation was subsequently elected as an affiliate member of the ICC in 2001. The Afghan national team played in competition matches held in Pakistan soon after and managed to win their first match during a competition in 2003.
Having investigated it is clear that Cricket is gaining popularity in Afghanistan. Yet to this writer it is the serenity of a cricket field contrasted against the war torn cities we regularly see on the news that comes in such stark contract. There is no reason why any nation cannot play any sport it wishes to, all it takes is a willingness to do so in order to compete. Of course it takes much effort to compete against the strongest in the world but that can be accomplished in time and with effort and often it is the competing that matters and that enables growth.
Sport can engender bonds between nations and I genuinely hope this happens with Afghani Cricket, and it is also wished that this sport brings peace to this nation that needs it so much.