Afghanistan cricket advance unparalleled: ICC
NAGPUR, India (Pajhwok): As Afghanistan got off to winning start on the opening day of the World Twenty20 after overcoming Scotland here on Tuesday, a top International Cricket Council official said Afghanistan must not cease efforts at having a strong cricket team in future.
Richard Done, the ICC High Performance Manager, told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview that Afghanistan had unparalleled achievements in the recent past and had significantly advanced in a short span of time, something that showed cricket was much loved in the war-torn country.
Mohammad Shahzad and skipper Asghar Stanikzai shone with the willow on Tuesday night when Afghanistan downed Scotland in their World T20 qualifying game in Nagpur.
The national side won the toss and elected to bat first in the important encounter at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
Shahzad smashed 61off 39 deliveries while Stanikzai hit an unbeaten 55 to help Afghanistan post a formidable total of 170 for the loss of five wickets in the stipulated 20 overs. Shahzad gave the opposition a good leather hunt.
Stanikzai remained unbeaten on a steady 55 off 50 balls, hitting two boundaries and a six, Together with Shahzad, he forged a 82-run second wicket partnership --the highlight of Afghanistan’s innings. Opener Noor Ali Zardan chipped in with 17 and Gulbadin Naib with 12.
Scotland took a flying start in their chase as openers George Munsey and Kyle Coetzer put on a courageous 84 runs in less than nine overs, giving the rivals a real scare. But Samiullah Shenwari dislodged Coetzer for 40.
In the breezy 27-ball knock, he thrashed four boundaries and a six. Just three runs later, Munsey departed after making 41 off 29 balls with the help of nine fours, the ACB spokesman said.
Done said Afghanistan was ahead from resources-rich countries Ireland and Scotland who had been playing cricket since long.
He said the ICC, which has been supporting associate teams over the past some years in developing and prompting cricket, was closely watching the Afghanistan team. “Afghanistan in a short period of time have been able to play World Cup and this is not something ordinary.”
But he said the Afghanistan national cricket team should not derail from its focus in order to preserve the gains it had achieved so far.
Done said the development of domestic cricket in Afghanistan and national events further resulted in having a strong national side.
About cricket fans in Afghanistan, he said their enthusiasm showed they understood the game well and they loved cricket.
“Afghan fans are full of spirit; they warmly support their team and dance at their victories.”
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