Friday, April 30, 2010

Can cricket bring peace to Afganistan?

This comes from Asian Correspondent:

When everything else fails maybe we should try cricket. At least in Asia. Asia has four international cricket playing nations, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Now there is a new kid on the block. The most unlikely country to be found on a 22 yard cricket pitch. It is the war-torn Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, the land-locked nation, has seen wars since the 1980s. If it wasn't  the Soviet invasion in the '80s then it was the US-led invasion now. It's quite a while since Afghanistan has been in the news for any good or positive reasons. Until now. 

Afghanistan has qualified to play the Twenty-Twenty Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. They will be playing the Cricket and T20 stalwarts India. Not bad for a country which doesn't have a single cricket stadium.

While Indian cricketers honed their cricket in a MRF pace foundation or a cricket camp, Afghan cricketers did it in refugee camps. It might have started as a pastime, but with a national team making it to the World Cup, it can soon become a national obsession. Cricket by one of the cheapest sports around  in terms of infrastructure. It needs a bunch of sticks and a ball, but not much of real estate. Afghanistan has used this to its advantage.

With India and South Africa in their group, Afghanistan is unlikely to cause an upset and advance further in the tournament. But funny things have happened in Cricket, Twenty-twenty is a format where shocks abound. But whether they win or lose, Afghanistan have a lot to look out for in the tournament. One of the biggest reason is this :
Recently, a young man showed up at the main ground in Kabul and asked Azizullah Fazli, the provincial coach, for a trial. Fazli says: “He told me that he had two guns and wanted to fight, but when he heard the news that the Afghan cricket team had qualified for the World  Cup, he was delighted. He said he gave up his guns for a bat and ball instead.”
Even if they play two matches, the Afghan cricket team can win a lot of hearts. And it can give hope to youngsters who can hold on to something other than a gun.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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