Taliban offer prayers for Afghan cricket team’s success – Cricket News Update

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Taliban offer prayers for Afghan cricket team’s success – Cricket News Update
Afghanistan’s notorious Taliban, the newest converts to the game of cricket, offered prayers and support for their national team prior to the match against Pakistan this Friday.
Cricket underwent tough times during the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, when outdoor sports were banned, and sports fields were used for carrying out executions. However, following the US-led war on terror in 2001, which brought the Taliban rule to an end,
cricket began to take hold in the war-torn country.
The trend further escalated after the national team won the One-Day status in 2009, and finished fifth in the 2011 ICC World Cup qualifiers. They went on to win the Inter-Continental Cup which is held for International Cricket Council’s Associate nations.
Cricket became a top-sport in the country, where it began to be followed closely. Even, surprisingly, by the Taliban.
“I am personally a fan of cricket, I will follow this match closely,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban, on Thursday. “I pray that Afghans come out as winners.” He stressed that these were his personal opinions, not that of the Taliban.
However, the on the cricket field in Sharjah.
"Friday's match was a big milestone for Afghanistan, so much so that the Taliban sent a message of support, saying they are praying for the success of the team," he told reporters.
Zakhilwal added that "even President Karzai was watching the match and wished the team well," along with “80-90 percent of the kids” in the country, who were all glued to their TV screens, watching the home team play their first major match on the world
cricketing stage.
While the team was unable to get the beat their opponents in the ODI match despite their courageous performance, the real winner was cricket on the day. Zakhilwal said that cricket had the potential to unite the nation like no other sport or event could.
He thanked Pakistan for the opportunity to play against them, and added that they were urging the, to give them more chances to play.
The president of the board further added that his country was ready to host matches, with two international-standard stadiums in Kabul and Jalalabad. He issued an open invitation to all teams, saying the Afghan team was ready to play “anywhere in the world.”



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