Saturday, October 5, 2013

Congratulations Afghanistan!

A few months ago we read a book on our iPad entitled Out of the Ashes. It was the story of Afghanistan's quest to compete on world cricket's biggest stage, the ICC World Cup, and it was a wonderful read.

It now needs to be re-published, with some additional chapters; Cricinfo reports:

Afghanistan secured their passage to Australia and New Zealand in 2015 by beating Kenya comprehensively for the second time in succession in Sharjah, sealing their maiden World Cup qualification. They finished second in the World Cricket League Championship - nine wins in 14 matches - and joined Ireland as the second Associate team in the 2015 World Cup, while the remaining two spots for Associates will be decided by a qualifying tournament in New Zealand in 2014.

Afghanistan had to beat Kenya to prevent UAE from gaining qualification and their bowlers delivered once again. Having dismissed Kenya for 89 on October 2, Afghanistan skittled them for 93 today, ensuring their batsmen had a facile target to achieve their World Cup goal. They did it in 20.5 overs to reach their third global tournament, having appeared in the World Twenty20s in 2010 and 2012. 

This is a wonderful result for the Afghani cricketers, and a triumph for sport over politics and war. It has been a long and tortuous journey for the Afghanistan side, but they have scaled their cricketing Everest. Forget Team Oracle's America's Cup comeback; this is the sporting triumph of the year.

We are sure that the Afghanis will be popular characters when they join the world's elite cricketing nations in New Zealand and Australia in February 2015. We wish them well, and send them our heartiest congratulations on having achieved their goal.

In the meantime, Tim Albone had better get back to his computer, and complete the story of Taj Malik Alam, Kabir Khan and a host of other larger-than-life characters. It's a story that the cricketing world can be proud of.

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