Foreign cricketers all praise for Afghan hospitality
KABUL (Pajhwok): Foreign cricket players who were part of the recently concluded Shpageeza Twenty/20 tournament in Kabul say “one should learn hospitality from Afghans.”
Played at the Alokozai Kabul International Cricket Stadium, the largest domestic tournament event came to an end a few days ago, with Kabul Eagles winning the title.
For the first time in Afghanistan, a number of foreign players took part in the tournament. They included Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza, Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt, Rafatullah Momand, Owais Zia, Nasir Jamshid and Bismillah Khan.
All these players had represented their national sides in different formats of the game --- one-day, Test and Twenty/20.
After their participation in the Spageeza tournament, the foreign players issued their brief video messages released by the Afghan Cricket Board about their stay, matches, hospitality, Afghan players and Afghanistan cricket.
Sikandar Raza, who played in the tournament with Band-i-Amir Dragons, said he had a different view regarding Afghanistan and Kabul before his arrival.
“But when I arrived in Afghanistan, I found everything different, there was a tight security, Kabul was a beautiful city, the Afghans are very loving, and they gave us generous hospitality and a lot of love.”
Raza said the Afghan players had a great passion for cricket and their fans loved them wildly. He believed peace would soon prevail in Afghanistan and cricket would further improve in the country.
The Zimbabwean said he maintained good relations with some Afghan players since long and the relations further strengthened with his visit of Afghanistan.
He said the Afghan players had great potential and their future was bright because cricket was the game that gave the Afghans love, entertainment and unity.
Former Pakistani captain and player Salman Butt, who played in Amu Sharks team, in his message said Afghanistan was a good neighbor where they were given much love and shown great hospitality and respect.
“Here we were accorded such a hospitality and respect that we will remember for a long time.”
Butt said Afghanistan made many achievements in a short span of time and there was a great spirit among the Afghan players and their country would soon obtain the ICC full membership.
He said the Afghan players had great skills; they defeated West Indies, Ireland and others and gave a tough time to other world’s top cricket teams.
The former Pakistani skipper said the Shpageeza tournament was conducted in an effective and high standard manner.
He said many facilities were provided to players during the tournament which unveiled untapped new talent and the young players performed beyond expectations.
He said the spirit and dedication the Afghan players had could not be found in world’s other players and it was Afghans’ specialty.
“While in Kabul, we did not feel away from home and country, it was like one is home,” said Salman Butt, who praised the hospitality and facilities provided to players during the tournament.
Another Pakistani player Mohammad Asif, who was with Band-i-Amir Dragons, also said he had a different view regarding Afghanistan before arriving in Kabul.
“We were a bit nervous but when we arrived here we found a different situation, there was good security in Kabul and the Afghans accorded us great hospitality.”
He said the young Afghan players had huge potential which guaranteed Afghanistan’s future. The young players kept learning from their senior and benefitted well from the available resources, said Asif.
He said the Shpageeza tournament was well-organized and more should be done for the game in Afghanistan as the Afghans loved cricket too much. “If invited, I will come to Kabul again.”
Owais Zia said the Shpageeza tournament met international standards and he enjoyed the event. “I was somewhat afraid before my arrival, but there was nothing as such. Kabul was exciting, I have no words to praise Afghanistan and the development of cricket here, we will come again and again.”
Zia said they were shown great hospitality in Afghanistan and others should learn from their hospitality. He said the Afghanistan cricket was fast developing.
Nasir Jamshid said he had been of the view that the Afghans only liked hitting sixes and fours, but he observed in the Shpageeza that they played professionally.
He said standard ground and other facilities had been made available for Afghan players in their home country. “I learned a lot here that increased my experience.”
Jamshid said: “Afghans gave us a historic hospitality, we were provided good security. Kabul is a beautiful city which made us happy.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.