Thousands throng Kabul airport to welcome cricket team
KABUL (Pajhwok): Thousands of fans on Monday thronged the Hamid Karzai International Airport to extend a hero’s welcome to the national cricket team arriving from the UAE after winning two series against Zimbabwe.
Mohammad Shahzad, breaking several records, smacked a breezy unbeaten ton on Sunday when Afghanistan thrashed Zimbabwe in the two-match T20 series at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Afghanistan pipped past the opposition by five runs in Friday’s first duel at the same venue in front of a huge holiday crowd. A large number of Afghan expats in the UAE celebrated the team’s triumph, which came days after their 3-2 success in the ODI series.
Besides thousands of cricket lovers, Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi, Urban Development Minister Syed Sadat Naderi, Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar, a number of lawmakers, high ranking government officials and cricket board members welcomed the players at the airport.
The frenzied fans welcomed the cricketers by dancing at drumbeats and performing the national dance and accompanied them from the airport to the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s office.
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai told Pajhwok Afghan News that both senior and junior players performed well against Zimbabwe in the two series and proved their ability.
He especially praised the performance of Shahzad Mohammadi and Gulbadin Naib and said other players had also contributed well to the victories.
The skipper said the two series against Zimbabwe came at a proper time as the matches helped them prepare for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup commencing two months later in India.
In his chat with Pajhwok Afghan News, Mohammadi thanked the countrymen for always loving them and remembering them in their prayers.
He said before every match, they planned in consultation and cooperation with coaches and played in line with the plan.
ACB chairman Shafiqullah Stanikzai applauded the national side and said the boys proved their mettle in both formats of the game.
He said the matches against Zimbabwe provided the Afghans a good opportunity to prepare themselves for the T20 World Cup.
He promised to make efforts at arranging training camps for the cricket team at home and abroad as part of their preparations for the World Cup.
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