Afghanistan seeks India’s help to further improve cricket

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Kabul, Afghanistan (4E Sports) – Amid conflicts, Afghanistan has made significant strides in cricket through the years.

By 2011, Afghanistan’s Twenty-Twenty team had overtaken veteran cricketing nations Zimbabwe and Bangladesh to take the ninth spot in the world rankings.

Afghanistan also is constructing three new cricket stadiums to host international matches with teams from South Asia.

As sign of cricket boom, around 6,000 aspirants participated in trials for the country’s new 20-member under-19 squad last month.

Cricket is also becoming a part of physical education curriculum in Afghanistan’s schools.

Despite its achievements, the Afghanistan Cricket Board has struggled to meet the demands as the number of interested players increase.

To solve this, the Afghanistan Cricket Board has turned to India’s Board of Control for Cricket India for help, especially in coaching and umpire training.

Officials from the ACB met their BCCI counterparts in Delhi last weekend to formally seek support.

“Afghanistan is a poor country, war-hit country. We haven’t got as much support as England gives to Ireland and Scotland…We haven’t got that much support from Asian Board members,” said ACB official Basheer Stanekzai.

“We have weaknesses in batting. As compared to it we have good fast bowlers and have chased 400-run target. They have the talent but are not confident,” Stanekzai added.

“We want them to learn to stay at the wicket for a long time, build innings and be consistent in performance. They can hit the ball very well but need to learn to stay at the wicket,” he further said.

Leading Pakistan cricket commentator Shahid Hashmi brushed aside fears that Afghanistan’s approach to India could result to a conflict with neighboring Pakistan.

“The Pakistani game is itself dependent on Indian goodwill,” Hashmi said. “We always want to play them and please them. India can help Afghanistan cricket by sending their second string teams to play there”.

“They are making progress but they need financial help,” Hashmi added.

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