The rapid development of cricket in Afghanistan had been signalled by the country competing in the last two World Twenty20s. But securing a place in the World Cup, the flagship event of the international cricket calendar to be played next year in Australia and New Zealand, was a cause for special celebration.
Cricket’s history in Afghanistan is thought to have started with the game being played by British troops stationed in Kabul in 1839. However, unlike in so many other countries, no lasting legacy was left by the British and it would be more than a century before cricket returned.
It became popular amongst Afghan refugees in Pakistan in the 1990s, and cricket has continued to develop in Afghanistan during years of tremendous change within the country. It is now the fastest growing sport in Afghanistan and, with hundreds of thousands of players and supporters, claims to stand as the largest peaceful movement there.