KABUL (SW): In a short but impressive history, the national cricket team of Afghanistan continued to impress the world in the year 2017.
The former West Indies test player Phil Simmons has been tasked to take charge as head coach for the Afghan side starting from One Day International and T20 series in the United Arab Emirates against Zimbabwe next month. This would be followed by qualifiers for the 2019 International Cricket Council World Cup in England.
The national team earned historic ICC Full Member status in 2017, and later got assurance from India for the maiden test match in 2018. Similar assurances are there from Australia for another test cricket competition. Afghanistan is also set to feature in Asia Cup competitions hosted by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan jointly. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) has negotiations underway with Bangladesh and a number of other ICC members for ODI and T20 series.
In 2017, Afghanistan successfully defended it’s title at the Inter-Continental Cup. The Under-19 cricket team of Afghanistan also made the countrymen proud by making it to the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
Preparations are in full swing to host the matches of popular Afghan Premier League (APL) this time in the UAE with players from Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and West Indies. Along with the former skipper Mohammad Nabi, the emerging spinner Rashid Khan has taken the cricket world by a storm by his exceptional performances at the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.
In other sports, the national football team of Afghanistan played a total of 8 international matches in 2017. The national team emerged victorious in 2 while drew three besides losing three. The team, however, failed to make it to the 2019 Asia Cup. The national Futsal team, however, had a more impressive year by securing second place at a regional competition in China.
Also in 2017, in the final round of the sixth Season of the Afghan Premier League, the capital region’s Shahin Asmayee defeated Maiwand Atalan 4-3 and become the champion of the popular football competition at home. The final match was played in front of more than 7000 spectators in Kabul.
In other sports during the past year, Afghanistan earned a total of 12 medals At the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) 2017 in Turkmenistan.
Another proud moment for the nation was created by Afghanistan’s very own Ahmad Yasin Qaderi as he won the title of ‘Mr Universe’ at the 9th World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship in Mongolia in October last year.