The recent exploits of the Afghan cricket team have been some of the few pieces of good news to emerge out of the country in years.
Now it appears that the world’s most powerful cricketing nation has stepped forward to help the Afghans along in their journey.
The Afghanistan Cricket Team will be shifting to a stadium near New Delhi from their current “home” base of Sharjah, UAE after signing an agreement with the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) grounds in Noida, a suburb of Delhi.
The agreement was backed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“First of all I would like to thank BCCI and Greater Noida Authority. We compliment the support of BCCI towards Afghanistan cricket development and the commitment they have shown so far is immense. We were trying a lot from the last few years to get some sort of support from BCCI as Afghanistan, you all know, is an emerging nation, which is knocking the door of Test cricket,” Shafiq Stanikzai, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), said.
BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur revealed that Afghanista’s recent exploits on the cricket field had influenced the Board’s decision.
“Afghanistan have done well in the last two years and to qualify in the World Cup, it showcases their hard-work. And they will play in India and like India played a big hand in Bangladesh becoming a full member, India will also play a big part in Afghanistan becoming a full member as well”.
Thakur also said that the opportunity to interact with Indian cricket players would be a boon for Afghanistan’s young side.
“Not only they will play their matches here but will also get added support like a chance to get help from top coaches and a chance to rub shoulders with India’s best cricketer’s. Greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid might not travel to Kabul but can certainly give these players a tip or two when they are in India”, Thakur said.
Afghanistan, the latest “associate” team to enter world cricket, have been widely praised for their passionate brand of cricket.
The team began the year with a sensational win over Scotland in the Cricket World Cup before ending 2015 with a resounding and historic ODI and T20 series wins over Zimbabwe.