Category: cricket

Rashid Khan and Shadab Khan reveal the T20 series trophy

Afghanistan hosts Pakistan for the first ever bilateral series, with an eye on historic win.

Two of the fast growing rivals in the cricketing world, Afghanistan and Pakistan are all set to meet in a T20I bilateral series, the first ever of its kind. The love for cricket and the political landscapes in both countries have always contributed to the ingredients for heated and entertaining contest between the two nations.

Both teams have previously gone head to head in the ICC and ACC events but not in a bilateral series. This series come as a replacement for the 3 ODIs the two teams were supposed to play as part of the ICC FTP. The three T20I are scheduled to be played at the historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE.

Afghanistan’s star performer Rashid Khan will be leading his troops. The hosts have never beat Pakistan in an international game but having made some notable changes, his 17-members squad has it all to go over the line and make history by defeating the opposition for the first time in their cricketing history.

Usman Ghani and under 19 star Sediq Atal have replaced the aggressive opener Hazratullah Zazai along with one of their most reliable middle order batters Rahmat Shah. Zazai was out of touch in his recent international appearances and didn’t live up to the expectations in franchise cricket recently. Afghanistan’s most experienced player Mohammad Nabi also makes a comeback in the squad. Nabi resigned from captaincy following his teams average performance in the T20 World Cup 2022.

Pakistan too have rested some of their most experienced crew including the skipper Barbar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman as well as the fast bowling duo Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi. It’s just a matter of time to find out whether they will miss the spearhead pacer who just led Lahore Qalanders to the first ever consecutive titles in PSL, and the likes of Babar and Rizwan at the top of the order.

Shadab has been a consistent performer in Pakistan’s recent successes, just like his rival Rashid, he is too given the responsibility to lead his country on this historic occasion. Having just complete their domestic t20 competition, the Pakistan’s young star studded team is probably the least experience of the two but is not short of any talent.

There has already been some pre-series controversy following the PCB Chairman’s remarks at squad announcement press conference.

“We told Afghanistan board to control their players. We have experiences with regards to winning and losing so can control our emotions, but they are new to international cricket, so they need to keep their players in check” said Najam Sethi.

Former Afghanistan skipper and current Assistant Coach Rais Ahmadzai responded “Both Afghanistan and  Pakistan are playing under ICC code of conduct, Najam Seth Simple give respect take respect, let’s enjoy the best show of cricket in Sharjah” pointing out the initiation of the on field arguments between the two team during Asia Cup where Pakistan’s Asif Ali raised his bat to Farid Malik which fuelled the post match fans brawl.

Emotions are always high both on and off the field during Afghanistan vs Pakistan. The organisers have considered fans segregation, keeping the fans in separate stands to avoid unrest among the fans and provide a friendly environment for those attending. Despite its ins and outs, both teams have always displayed some exceptional performances and this time will not be any different.

Separate stands allocated for Afghanistan and Pakistan fans at Sharjah Stadium
ACB announced fixture for the three-match T20I series against Pakistan. Scheduled to be played at the end of March in Sharjah.

ACB announced fixture for the three-match T20I series against Pakistan, scheduled to be played at the end of March in Sharjah.

ACB announced fixture for the three-match T20I series against Pakistan. Scheduled to be played from the 25th of March until the 29th.

Afghanistan will kick off their 2023 home season by hosting Pakistan in Sharjah. All three games will be played at the same venue on the 25th, 27th and 29th of Match.

Both teams have previously faced each other in ICC and ACC multi teams events on several occasions. This is the first bilateral series of multiple matches between the two neighbouring nations. 

Afghanistan came out victorious in their most recent t20I series against the UAE, they won the series 2-1, However their abilities were tested by the host nation. Their encounters have always gone to the wire but Afghanistan are yet to win a T20I against Pakistan. The Blue Tigers will be hoping to secure their first ever international T20I victory against the Men in Green, and even another series triumph.

Afghanistan v UAE 2023

Pakistan last played a t20 game in the T20 World Cup 2022 which they lost to England by 5 wickets. Pakistan’s most recent international appearances was against New Zealand in the ODI series. The BlackCaps won 2-1 in the three-match ODI series. Meanwhile, both the teams last went head to head for a T20I face-off in the Asia Cup in Sep, 2022. They have played an ODI and t20 at the same venue in 2012 and 2013 respectively, both of which were won by Pakistan.

Strengthening the cricketing ties between the two countries.

ACB Chairman Mr. Mirwais Ashraf: “We appreciate Pakistan Cricket Board’s willingness to play Afghanistan in March. This is a significant accomplishment for two neighboring countries.”
“We are hopeful and looking forward to extending our ties with PCB, as well as continuing great partnerships and frequent cricketing assignments with them, which will help us further strengthen our team and our cricket altogether. Overall, we are excited to host and play Pakistan in what will be a thrilling series of cricket games between the two countries.”

Chair of PCB Management Committee, Mr Najam Sethi: “I am delighted that inaugural Pakistan versus Afghanistan T20I series will be played later this month in a city that has a large ex-pat community and which has always supported cricketers from both countries.

“The PCB and ACB enjoy a strong and cordial relationship. Even today, Afghanistan players are hugely popular in the HBL PSL. I am sure when cricketers from both sides will wear national jerseys for the upcoming international series, they will demonstrate the highest levels of performances and entertain the passionate and cricket-loving crowds.” he added.

There is great rivalry between the two teams whenever they face in international events. Afghanistan and Pakistan have big fan following in Sharjah and across the UAE. There is always quality and competitive cricket on display whenever the two teams meet. With all that being said, we will witness some breathtaking performances and ultimate entertainment.

1st T20I: March 25, Sharjah
2nd T20I: March 27, Sharjah
3rd T20I: March 29, Sharjah

Afghan Cricket Association 2021-2022 Fundraiser

Afghan Cricket Association was one of the first organisation to organise a fundraise and simultaneously deliver aid projects on the ground. has been at the front line to reach out to the poor during the COVID19 pandemic and during the collapse of Kabul. People were forced to flee their homes for safety as a result of the rapid rise in violence before the fall of Kabul in August 2021. ACA in collaboration with Rashid Khan Foundation and launched a fundraiser to reach out to those displaced internally by providing food parcels and other basic necessities. We were able to raise a whooping amount of approximately £18,000.

ACA with the help of Afghan Cricket Foundation (ACF) as a partner in Afghanistan helped hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) move back to their home provinces from the Capital Kabul. We were able to send IDPs to the northern provinces including Baghlan, Kunduz, Mazar, Takhar, Ghor and Badghis. 

ACA’s volunteers travelled across the country from August 2021 – Feb 2022 to find the neediest people and help them as per their needs. ACA distributed a month worth of supplies to hundreds of families in different parts of the country, we had distribution centres in the following provinces:

  • Kabul
  • Helmand
  • Kunar
  • Kunduz
  • Pakita
  • Kandahar
  • Khost
  • Nangarhar

ACA’s Month worth of food parcels included:

  • Flour 50kg
  • Rice 21 kg
  • Cooking oil 5-10L
  • Green/Black tea 1kg
  • Beans 4 kg
  • Sugar 4kg
  • Salt 10 packets
  • 500-1000 Afghani in cash to use for their need as the see appropriate (due to the frequent change of prices in the market)

We were also able to support some families financially with proven need and financial difficulties to help meet their medical needs.

ACF COVID19 / Ramadan Relief Campaign

When World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 virus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th of January, almost every country went into lockdown. Schools and offices were closed. Events were postponed. Entertainment industry was shutdown. In the midst of this pandemic, countries around the globe rushed to reroute their national effort and resources towards building and strengthening their healthcare infrastructure.

Unfortunately, some countries were fighting a more nerve-wracking threat than a highly contagious virus – poverty. Afghanistan has been suffering from a 4-decade long war. It has obliterated not just the prospect of peace but also its public welfare system, leaving millions of people desperately trying to survive. Thus, our committee at Afghan Cricket Foundation (ACF) decided to utilise our resources and initiate our COVID-19 Relief Campaign to assuage their suffering through providing food parcels and essential hygiene products.

Covid-19 Relief Campaign
We partnered with Afghan Cricket Association (ACA) and swiftly designed a simple but effective online fundraising campaign as a joint effort to support and alleviate the suffering of the less fortunate. The aim was to distribute food parcels (see image 1) across two different cities in Afghanistan, Kabul and Kunduz. Each package was formulated to ensure it sufficed for a whole family for an entire month.

Image 1: List of items included in our food and hygiene parcels.

After launching this altruistic campaign, we were moved by the generosity and support we received. Our initial modest donation target was met within a few hours. So, we decided to increase our target to £5,000 in order to help more families. We partnered with trustworthy and transparent organisations in Afghanistan to create high quality food parcels for the cheapest price possible. Thanks to our hardworking team in Afghanistan, our final packages had more items, and were cheaper than we advertised therefore allowing us to reach more families.

50 Families received a month worth of food packages in KUNDUZ province

After two weeks there was still palpable demand for keeping the fundraising page active, and we did. As a result, we managed to raise a grand total of £6208, and provided 124 food parcels across not two but three cities. This was a phenomenal achievement considering this was our first ever charitable campaign. We would like to thank every individual across the globe for donating and promoting our campaign. It wouldn’t have been possible without their effort and generosity.

60 Families received food packages for the month of Ramadan in HELMAND province

If you would like to see the impact of this campaign, and the difference it has made then please head over to our social media pages:
Twitter: @ACF_World
Instagram: ACF_World

14 Families received food packages in Nangarhar province

Special Thanks from our CEO
I would like to extend special thanks to each ACA team member for their contribution towards this project under the wing of the foundation. Other volunteers, you know who you are, both officially and unofficially helping to spread the word. They worked hard during this lockdown to deliver massive help in a part of the world that arguably needed it the most. Thanks to all donors who donated every amount small or big; supporters went beyond and shared the campaign with friends and families; also, appreciation of Mr Malik Mangal owner of Mangal Money Transfer for showing massive support in this campaign from being one of the largest contributors to providing other support.

Over 35 Afghan Charities and Organisasions join efforts to raise 1m for those affected by COVID19 in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is facing the COVID19 pandemic with a fractured and impoverished healthcare system. Afghanistan has endured decades of war which has left millions of Afghans in dire situation. In the country’s very limited testing facilities and fragile health system, COVID-19 is gradually taking its grip which poses a major challenge to more than half of the population living under the poverty line. As cases of corona-virus spread, the government have introduced forcible lock-down across the country which simply means millions of poor Afghans losing their daily earning and thus unable to provide for their families.

The people of Afghanistan cannot wait, urgent relief is required to overcome the overwhelming spread of famine. This campaign is a symbol of unity in isolation, committed to provide those in desperate need with emergency food packs in the worst affected provinces in Afghanistan. This is a project like no other in the Afghan community. Our target is to raise a colossal 1 million pounds to reach the forgotten families in Afghanistan. A target that is attainable with your generous donations. We will bridge the online and offline world to lift thousands out of famine. The time to act is now!

Afghanistans inevitable famine is likely to take millions of lives leaving the most vulnerable in a life or death situation. Thats where we as members of humanity must help. We are proud to announce that over 30 Afghan charities worldwide (and growing). Have united efforts to feed the impoverished people of Afghanistan.

With experts predicting a famine that could take the lives of millions in Afghanistan. Now is the time to work in unison combating a silent killer. Combining our expertise, knowledge, experience and resources we aim to form a solid structure, that will quickly and continuously provide a target of 1 million pounds of aid to the regions most affected by the pandemic. “Afghanistan COVID-19 Emergency Response Appeal” is formed from UK based as well as international Afghan charities; cultural, health and professional associations. The current situation presents a historic and unprecedented opportunity for not only the organizations, but for all of us to unite and fulfil our moral duty of supporting the vulnerable people across Afghanistan.

ACF calls upon all Afghans living abroad, Afghan organisations and everyone who has solidarity with Afghanistan to contribute to this cause, our people back home need us more than ever before and it’s time for us to come together and help our fellow citizens in need. We urge you to donate generously and help provide food packages for the poor who have no other source of income and only rely on aid and relief programmes.

ACA Indoor Tournament 2020

Afghan Cricket Association is excited to announce it’s first indoor soft-ball tournament ” ACA Indoor tournament” is scheduled to take place on Saturday the 15th of February 2020 from 1pm to 6pm.

It will be two round competition between 4 teams and each team will consist of 6 players (one sub player allowed). In the 1st round each team will play three games (round robin) and top two teams will go to the 2nd round (final) to battle for the trophy.

?Winner and Runners up the trophy
?Man of the match (final)
?Best bowler
?Best batsman

Team registrations are set at £100, payment must be made before the 9th of February. Teams will be selected on first come first serve basis, we recommend you register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Anyone willing to make a team and participate in this tournament is invited to register online at ACA or for more information contact us directly through our Facebook page
More information and rules will be shared in due course.

Leyton Cricket Hub, Leyton, London, E10 6RJ


Middlesex Cricket is today delighted to announce the launch of an exciting new partnership between the club and the Afghan Cricket Foundation (ACF) which will see the two organisations working hand in hand on several projects over the coming year to engage the Afghan community within and around London.

In the year when eighteen-year -old Afghan cricketing superstar Mujeeb ur Rahman will represent Middlesex in the Vitality Blast, what better time to join forces to try and engage UK resident cricket loving Afghans with one of the countries most respected county sides at the games most historic ground, Lord’s.

With over 100,000 Afghans currently living in the capital, the ACF and Middlesex will be running several engagement projects to bring the Afghan community together at Lord’s this summer, including launching a special membership promotion available exclusively through the ACF website.

Anyone purchasing the special membership offer through the ACF will also be invited to attend a unique event held at Lord’s later this summer, when they’ll get to meet Mujeeb in person, whilst enjoying hospitality at the finest venue in cricket.

Middlesex Cricket will also be playing a major part in helping to improve the standard of Afghan cricket within the capital – making their Finchley Indoor School facility regularly available to the ACF and providing professional coaching to improve players’ skills.

To crown the year, Middlesex Cricket will also be providing a representative side to take on the ACF  team after their annual cricket competition – with dates and venue still to be confirmed.

Speaking of the innovative new partnership, Middlesex Cricket’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Lynch, commented:

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with the ACF and are really looking forward to working with them and to welcoming the Afghan community to Lord’s over the summer months ahead.

“With such a vibrant cricket loving Afghan population living in London, this partnership makes huge sense on so many levels, and with Mujeeb on board this year with Middlesex, we’re hoping to achieve great things in the Vitality Blast.

“It promises to be an exciting summer for Afghans in the capital.”

Bashir Gharwal, Chairman of the ACF commented:

“Founded not long ago, on 1st June 2016, we are proud of where ACF has reached. From only 6 teams in the first year, we now have 15 teams in different cities across the UK participating in our annual events.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Middlesex Cricket and we would like to thank the club for signing the Afghan mystery spinner Mujeeb – this will further strengthen the cricketing relationship between the two great nations which is one of our prime aims. It is also an excellent opportunity for our players and members to get professional training and showcase their talent on bigger stages.”

About the ACF

Afghan Cricket Foundation serves as the talent-hunt hub for UK based Afghans and acts as the centre of gravity for Afghan teams and clubs in the UK. They have previously collaborated with MCC during Afghanistan National Team’s first ever appearance at Lord’s, and Wormsley CC during the Afghanistan XI exhibition match against the Sir Paul Getty XI.

Afghanistan in Cricket field at the year 2018

What is the best thing that has happened to Afghanistan in the last 2 decades? Afghanistan’s cricket unprecedented growth is as good an answer as any. Afghanistan is yet to play at home in the foreseeable future, owing to the security situation in their country but that has not stopped Afghanistan Cricket Team grow to an unprecedented level in the year 2018 and keep their fans entertained around the globe.

The year 2018 has been a year full of extraordinary achievements for Afghanistan in Cricket Field.  With their test debut against India, Afghanistan started the year with their T20 rankings at no 9 and finishing the year with no 8 as well as maintaining their ODI team rankings at no 10. This has been a result of some outstanding cricket that started with their 4-1 ODI series win against Zimbabwe in February 2017 that set them perfectly for their world cup qualifying tournament.

Afghanistan didn’t make it easy for themselves in the qualifier tournament. They lost their opening three qualifying games and World Cup qualification seemed a dream too far for the Asian minnows But they refused to give up, made the impossible seem possible and won rest of their matches to keep themselves in contention and qualified for the World Cup 2019. Afghanistan continued their success by white washing Bangladesh in T20 series by 3-0 in June 2018 and then finishing their year with a T20 and ODI Series wins against Ireland in June 2018 making them the only Country to have stayed unbeaten in ODI and T20 series cups in the year 2018.

Afghanistan also showcased their commitment, energy and passion on cricket ground in their appearance at Asia cup. They made history and truly won the title “The King of Upsets” by reaching the Asia cup super four stages for fist time. It wasn’t as though they somehow luckily reached this stage but they did it in style by comfortably beating Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and of course tying with India, the unbeaten current champions of Asia cup.

If there was one team that entertained the spectators with every single match, It would be Afghanistan as also perfectly described by Waqar Younis “For me Afghanistan is a Champion Team of this tournament.. They have won Hearts of the millions around the World.. Hats off to the Afghan boys”. With their back breaking spin bowling attack and impressive performances in batting, It filled Afghans at home with joy.

Individual players of Afghanistan have been the ambassadors across the world and have won millions of hearts across the globe. They have shined in every league and have won a special place for their spectators across the world. Rashid Khan was once again picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad at IPL along with Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ul Rahman. They were also considered in the BPL, Caribbean Premier League and Big Bash for their regular appearances. Thanks to Rashid Khan the leg spinner his team Adelaide Strikers managed to proceed to the final and won the tournament for first time since the league started. With his impressive bowling and batting Rashid Khan topped the table by taking the most (18) wickets in the tournament.

As a result of their continuous wins for Afghanistan and appearances in International Leagues Rashid Khan jumped from his 4th position in Oct 2017 to being ranked as the No1 T20 bowler. Rashid Khan also continues to surprise us all by skipping his ODI rankings from no 9 to the 2nd best ODI bowler. To make the impossible seemed possible Rashid Khan also shocked the world by becoming the No1 ODI All rounder followed by Muhammad Nabi  for the year ending 2018.

Mohammad Nabi also brought some changes to his ranking thanks to his incredible bowling backed with much needed runs with the bat making him the 2nd Best T20 all rounder and maintaining his 2nd position as an ODI all rounder.

With such outstanding individual and team efforts Afghanistan also hosted their first International Cricket League in their home ground Sharjah Cricket Stadium October 2018. Afghanistan Cricket Board managed to achieve some of their goals and objectives but more than that, This was an opportunity for the younger generation to enhance their skills against top cricketers around the world. With their senior players shining at the top of the rankings backed up by the young energy Afghanistan now feels confident to upset some of the top 10 teams in their appearance of ODI world cup 2019.


While the Nation Afghanistan goes through some tragic events on a daily basis, Afghanistan Cricket team has certainly been a source of happiness and joy for many Afghans living abroad or in Afghanistan.


The Basics of Cricket For Beginners


Cricket is sometimes referred to as the hardest game to understand but it’s not as complicated as you might think. Cricket is quite similar to baseball but the rules are completely different. This guide will give a better insight about the game of cricket and how it’s played.

The Equipment’s (main gear used to play the game): 

For hard-ball cricket, you’ll need equipment’s such:

  • Bat
  • Ball
  • Helmet
  • Stumps
  • Bails
  • Pads
  • Gloves
  • Spikes (Cricket Shoes)

Hard ball cricket is for professional and club levels cricketers which cannot be played without the appropriate gear due to safety reasons.

If you’re playing a casual game of soft-ball cricket, all you need is comfortable clothing, energy and enthusiasm! Even if it’s you and your mate in the yard, you can still indulge a game.

Different Formats (international cricket)

  • Twenty20 (T20) overs: is the shortest format of cricket played on international level. Each team is allowed to play 20 overs max, one bowler can bowl a maximum of 4 overs in T20s.
  • One Day International (ODI): ODI is also limited overs format, the maximum number of overs one side can bat/bowl is 50 overs. One bowler can bowl a maximum of 10 overs.
  • Test game: test is considered the highest standard of cricket, it is the longest format and can last for as long as five days.


Basics of the game:

  • Cricket is a team sport played between two teams at a time, each team consists of 11 players.
  • International/Club cricket is usually played at a proper cricket ground, the ground is normally a circular or oval shape covered by grass, surrounded by boundary marker and the pitch is placed in the middle of the ground.
  • The order of a team’s batting or bowling is decided by tossing a coin. The captains that wins the toss decides whether his/her team is going to bat or field/bowl first.
  • Both teams will have the chance to bat and field, there will be two batsmenof the batting side playing in pairs, and eleven Fielders of the opposition fielding to restrict the batting side to a low score or get them all out. Two out of the eleven fielders will have special roles, one bowling (throwing/releasing the ball after swinging the arm for at least one full revolution) and the second person doing wicket keeping (Wicket keeper), which means that he will have special protection (helmet, pads and gloves for safety reasons, as the ball is thrown at him with pace) and would stand behind the wickets/stumps.
  • Stumps are normally spaced 22 yards apart. Stumps are three upright wooded posts place in the ground, two bails (small sticks) laid horizontally on top of the stumps.
  • The batting side players will have to run between the stumps (22 yards distance) to score as many runs as they possibly can.
  • A team can bat until they have completed the allowable over (depends on the format of the game, e.g. 20 0ver, 50 overs test) or, if ten of their 11 batsmen have been dismissed by the opposition.
  • A batsman is declared out when he/she is bowled, caught, stumped, run-out, Leg Before Wicket (LBW), or hits the wicket (other ways could be when obstructing the field handled/ling the ball, timed out or hits the ball twice).
  • One over is 6 balls/deliveries, bowled by the bowling/fielding side.
  • When a bowler gets three back to back wickets (in three consecutive deliveries), it’s called hat-trick.
  • When a bowler completes an over without conceding a run, it’s called maiden over.
  • When a batsman scores 50 runs, its referred to as half-century or fifty.
  • When a batsman scores 100 runs, it’s called century.
  • The team with the highest score (runs) wins eventually.



Cricket Reshaped Afghanistan Internationally

Cricket has been played in Afghanistan since the arrival of the British in the 19th century, however it wasn’t until the 1980s, after the outbreak of war with the Soviet Union, that the game really took grip. During Soviet Union war in Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of young Afghans fled into Pakistan, where they were introduced to the game while in refugee camps along the country’s border. Passion for the game quickly spread, both in the camps and beyond.

Afghanistan cricket rose from the ashes of war, brought back by refugees, who had learnt to play in camps in Pakistan, using laundry sticks as makeshift bats and covering tennis balls with gaffer tape. The only game permitted by the Taliban, cricket has become Afghanistan’s fastest growing sport. In 1995, no one in Afghanistan knew what cricket was but by 2015, the national team was at the World Cup.  However, the first national trials were held in 2003. When they were invited to their first international tournament and in 2004, many players didn’t even have passports. Luckily, in 20 years Afghanistan’s cricketers had achieved what other teams take 50 years to do.

Most of cricketers avoid talking about their struggles in the refugee camps but instead they want to talk about cricket, especially the historic Test match. Yet, every time they go on to the field, they remind themselves of the difficult lives back home and vow to give their fellow Afghans reason to celebrate.

Over the last few years, the Afghanistan cricket team has gone from strength to strength. In 2013, they qualified for the 2015 ODI World Cup in Australia. It was in 2015 that they won their first-ever series against a full member Zimbabwe and a year later, they beat the eventual champions, the West Indies, in the World T20. Over the last few years, their progress has been nothing short of meteoric: not only have they beaten Zimbabwe and Ireland, but they have also recorded a win against the West Indies on Caribbean shores; and they have whitewashed Bangladesh.

Awarded full member status alongside Ireland in June last year, Afghanistan is from today the world’s 12th Test-playing nation. Also, Afghanistan launched its very own T20 league, Afghanistan Premier League which will help to produce more world-class players and at a much faster pace.

Cricket has played a part in changing the country’s fortunes and has caught the public imagination because of the rise of the national team. It is giving people lot of happiness and pride. Domestic game is also getting better as it has produced a lot of good players such as Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.  They would not have emerged if there was a poor domestic structure. Both Rashid and Mujeeb have been performing exceptionally well and aspiring cricketers to look up to. And there are so many other talented youngsters who are waiting for a chance.

Of all the success stories created by Afghanistan’s extraordinary rise, none is more striking than that of Rashid Khan, a leg spinner who may be the most famous Afghan alive. Sides across the globe compete aggressively for his services; this year he became the youngest man ever to be ranked best bowler in the world. In a country where not long ago the mere act of playing cricket was taboo, Rashid Khan is the face of hope.

This unifying power of cricket is being used to transcend not just divisions as deep as the Taliban and the government the militants consider illegitimate, but also rivalries rooted in ethnic, tribal or clan differences. When the team had its crucial World Cup qualifier match, Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tajiks were all out on the streets dancing in celebration.