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Afghanistan want to play India

Cricket board president hopeful of a positive reply

Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News
Afghanistan's Nawroz Mangal poses with Michael Clarke of Australia.
Gulf News

Sharjah: Fresh from a spirited performance against Australia at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Saturday, Afghanistan now want to play against India.

Omar Zakhilwal, the President of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, said: “We are in discussions with India to come forward and play us. We have asked them and we are hopeful of a positive reply. If any team can come to Afghanistan and play, it would be very good for us.”

Zakhilwal also said full security would be assured for any team willing to play in Afghanistan. “There is so much misunderstanding about Afghanistan, but they can feel fully secure in Kabul. They will have lot of fans too who will cheer for them,” he said.

Afghanistan have stunned some of the best associate and affiliate teams in recent years and put up a strong fight in their two one-dayers against Pakistan and Australia in Sharjah.

“We want out players to be invited to play in the Indian Premier League too. We are in discussion with India on all these matters,” said Zakhilwal, thanking Cricket Australia for the effort they put in to play them in Sharjah.

“We owe a big thank you to Cricket Australia. For them to give us this opportunity and come all the way from Australia and play us is special. Our youngsters have gone through difficult times, they trained all by themselves and were not even trained properly by us, but they all have big dreams and want to achieve big things. About 80 to 90 per cent of the population would have watched the match against Australia on television or followed it on radio. Cricket unites our nation and sends a positive message to our youth. Cricket is delivering the message of peace and it is proving to be more than a game,” he said.

Zakhilwal feels that a lot of positives have to be taken from the matches against Pakistan, back in February, and Australia at the weekend.

“If you look at our performances, you can see that even though we did not win these matches, our players stood up to the pressures of international cricket. It proves that we have come a long way. We are now looking forwards towards the Twenty20 World Cup, where we hope to put in an even better performance,” he said.