16 years ago, Afghans were not even on the cricket map. Today, where they are, even Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan are not there…

Orhan Wadia
Orhan Wadia - Editor
4 Min Read

New Delhi. Just 16 years ago, the team that was playing cricket with teams like Jersey, Mozambique, Malaysia, Singapore, Botswana, Vanuatu, today that team has reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. Afghanistan. There has hardly been any team in the history of cricket that has progressed as fast as Afghanistan today. The team that played its first ODI in 2009 and its first T20 match in 2010 is today close to winning the World Cup by defeating Australia and New Zealand. Afghanistan's journey from being an underdog to becoming a giant can be understood in 5 points.

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1. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995
At a time when Sachin Tendulkar was the biggest star in cricket and was scoring centuries, Afghanistan did not even have a cricket board. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) was established in 1995 and was recognised by the ICC as an affiliate member in 2001.

2. The Taliban lifted the ban in 2000
In the 1990s, the Taliban banned many sports in Afghanistan. Cricket was also included in these. In the year 2000, the Taliban excluded cricket from the ban imposed on all sports. Only after this did the ICC recognize Afghanistan. In 2001-2002, the Afghanistan team fielded its team in Pakistan's domestic tournament Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Afghanistan has to take help from Pakistan Cricket because its own country does not have all the facilities required to organize matches, from stadiums to cricket.

3. Won the Division Five trophy in 2008
Afghanistan's team participated in the ICC World Cricket League Division Five tournament in 2008. Division Five is the lowest ranked tournament of ICC. Apart from Afghanistan, Japan, Norway, Bahamas, Jersey, Singapore, Botswana, Mozambique, USA, Germany, Nepal and Vanuatu participated in this tournament in 2008. Afghanistan made its debut in the world of cricket by winning this tournament.

4. Played first ODI in 2009
After an excellent performance in 2008, Afghanistan gets a chance to play in the qualifying tournament for the 2011 World Cup. The Afghan fighters do not qualify for the 2011 World Cup, but due to their excellent performance they definitely get ODI status. After this, in 2009, the Afghanistan team plays its first ODI match against Scotland. A year later, in 2010, Afghanistan also debuts in T20 International cricket. In the year 2017, it also gets Test status.

5. Now Kabuliwala will play the World Cup semi-final
Afghanistan is in the semi-finals of the current T20 World Cup. To reach this stage, it defeated New Zealand in the group stage. After this, it defeated Australia in the Super-8 stage. Now it will face South Africa in the semi-finals. Not only Afghanistan's cricket fans but also the world's greats believe that Rashid Khan's fighters may have the upper hand in the semi-finals. If the Afghanistan team defeats South Africa in the semi-finals, then neither call it an upset nor a surprise. Reason – The position in which Afghanistan is today (World Cup semi-finals), neither Australia-New Zealand nor host West Indies or Pakistan are there. Afghanistan is the shining star of cricket and there is every possibility that this time it will not return home before playing the T20 World Cup final.

tag: afghanistan cricket, ICC T20 World Cup, T20 World Cup

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