Afghanistan: A nation on the rise
Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended," - A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
These words best illustrate the meteoric rise of Afghanistan in international cricket. When the Afghanistan cricket team enter the field to play their first ever Test against India in May 2018, their dream will become a reality.
It is funny that their first official Test is against the nation where cricket is considered a religion. Afghanistan is a country where people believe that cricket is capable of bringing tremendous social change. It is a place where cricket acts as a healer.
Cricketers act as comic book heroes to impart social values to every kid around the country. In a fast-changing world where the game is getting commercialized rapidly, this is a welcome change. They know that they are role models to children who are growing up in the country.
Refugees who returned from Pakistan brought the game to the country and they formed the core part of the team in the past. They practiced in the midst of bomb blasts and other terrorist activities, but in a short span of time achieved great things through their hard work and dedication. The flag bearer of Afghan cricket, Mohammad Nabi, and others acted as a catalyst for the home-grown citizens and inspired a large pool of local players to take up the sport.
But their initial days in the international arena were as rough as their life in the country. They soon found that passion could only carry them so far and that it was necessary to build a structure to take their cricket to the next level. Andy Moles, an Englishman, played a crucial role as a coach in bringing the right set of skills, and inculcated a winning attitude in the players.
As a result, the world has witnessed an array of superstars, including an 18-year-old leg spinner who became a darling for the nation.
Soon the results followed.
And now here they are, standing on the cusp of something monumental for every citizen in the country.
Their emotions will run high; they will shed tears.
But once the players enter the field, they will know that they need to prove to the world that they mean business and are not here just to make up the numbers. They know that they have fought through the hard times to stand where they are right now, and hence should not waste it.
The cricketing world needs these passionate and emotional cricketers who give everything on the field. Hence, it becomes important for the greater good of cricket to give them enough opportunities to showcase their talent to the world.