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Rashid discusses local cricket and ‘dreams’ of playing for a home crowd

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(Last Updated On: April 8, 2021)

One of Afghanistan’s star cricketers, Rashid Khan, said this week that despite the national team’s success on the international circuit, local cricket would benefit from more academies, more standardized grounds and more qualified coaches.

Speaking to The Cricketer on his rise to fame as one of the world’s best bowlers, Rashid said: “Currently, our cricket relies mainly on natural talent.

“Our cricketers have a lot of skill and natural flair, but the opportunities aren’t always there to go out there and express themselves. We would benefit from more academies, more proper grounds and a greater number of qualified coaches or trainers, so our young cricketers get the right advice on preparing for matches.

“To me, preparation is the key for a sportsman and at the moment some of our cricketers are not able to prepare properly due to a lack of facilities and coaches. Natural talent is a great thing to have, but it can only take you so far,” he said.

He said once facilities and opportunities improve in Afghanistan, the world will see “some fantastic classical batsmen, even more spinners, improved fast-bowlers and better-prepared cricketers coming through”.

“We have so much talent amongst our cricketers and once these areas are improved, there will be a lot more cricketers who are well-prepared for international cricket coming through,” he said.

Rashid also stated that the Afghan national team needs more opportunities to play Test cricket and play against the best teams.

“By playing more Test cricket, our batsmen will realise what improvements are needed by them for five-day cricket, they will learn to be patient, our bowlers will learn the art of bowling in Test cricket and our fielding will definitely improve too.

“It’s all about opportunities and chances to play Test cricket, the more chances we get, the better we will become,” he said.

Regarding the T20 World Cup later this year, Rashid said he thinks the national team will be well prepared for the tournament.

“We are known as being hard-hitting batsmen and I think we have great skills for the 20-over format.

“It will be a great opportunity for our youngsters to show the world what they are capable of and will be a boost for the careers of many of our cricketers,” he said.

According to him, playing in such tournaments is good for Afghanistan as a cricket nation and for the players.

“We are fully prepared and we know we are a very good team in the 20-over format as we have the bowling skills and the big-hitting batsmen. We just need to have the self-belief that we can beat any side as long as we play good cricket,” he said.

He said that at the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup, the Afghan team had a good tournament where they had a few opportunities to win matches but the team’s lack of experience showed in the end and they were not able to finish off matches.

He said “this time around we will go into the tournament as a much more experienced squad. I firmly believe that we will deliver in this tournament.”

Rashid also said it is one of his dreams however to play an international match in Afghanistan in front of a home crowd.

“That’s the dream. You can play all over the world, but playing in front of your own people, in front of your own beautiful crowd, in your own conditions, at your own venues is just something completely different.

“This is the advantage we are missing as we aren’t playing any of our international matches at home.” he said.

“I dream for the day when this happens and it will be a huge achievement when this occurs. It will be a day to remember for the nation of Afghanistan, it’s cricketers and all the people of Afghanistan and I hope that day is not too far away, and I wish that I am a part of that wonderful day.”

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Pakistan minister says threat to NZ cricket team originated in India

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2021)

A threat to New Zealand’s cricket team that prompted them to call off a tour of Pakistan came in an email that originated in India, Pakistan’s information Minister said on Wednesday.

New Zealand’s cricket squad arrived home on Wednesday after abandoning their tour of Pakistan last week citing a security threat. New Zealand Cricket said they were aware of a “specific and credible” threat but did not give details, Reuters reported.

Pakistan Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the threat had come via an email.

“This email was generated from India through a VPN showing the location of Singapore,” Chaudhry told reporters in Pakistan’s capital.

India’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nuclear-armed neighbours and arch-rivals Pakistan and India regularly blame each other for acts of violence, charges each government denies.

Chaudhry added that the West Indies team, due to arrive in December, had also been sent a threat that he said was fake.

Shunned by all after a deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, Pakistan have been trying to woo back top international teams.

New Zealand’s withdrawal dealt a massive blow to Pakistan’s hopes of staging regular international cricket, with England subsequently calling off their men’s and women’s tours.

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3 national snooker team players off to good start in world champs

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(Last Updated On: September 19, 2021)

Afghanistan’s National Snooker Team has gotten off to a good start in this year’s Six-Red World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

National team member Raees Khan Sindzai won his first match against his opponent from Ukraine ending with a score of 5-4.

Sindzai also defeated his Iraqi rival 5-4 in his second match and his next game will be against Bahrain.

Saleh Mohammad Mohammadi, another Afghan team member, beat his Egyptian rival 5-0 but lost his second match to his Belgian opponent, 4-5.

His third game will be against Palestine.

The Six-Red World Championships comes just days after the three team members took part in the Asian Snooker Championships, which were also held in Doha.

The tournaments are part of three major billiards and snooker events – including the GCC Billiards and Snooker tournament – organised by the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation.

It is the first time a country hosts these three major championships in succession, separated by only a few days.

The competitions started with the Asian championship from September 12 to 16, then the Six-Red World Championship from September 17 to 21. This championship will be followed by the GCC Billiards and Snooker Championship from September 22 to 28.

President of the International Snooker Federation and Executive Director of the Qatar Federation, Mubarak Al Khayarin, described Qatar’s hosting of the World and Asian Championships as a great challenge, especially after stopping nearly two years of activity due to the repercussions of the continuing outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Qatar’s The Peninsula reported.

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Afghan women’s soccer team arrives in Pakistan

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(Last Updated On: September 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s women’s soccer team has arrived in neighbouring Pakistan, the information minister in Islamabad said on Tuesday, as questions linger over the status of female athletes under Islamic Emirate rule.

“We welcome Afghanistan women football team, they arrived at Torkham Border from Afghanistan,” said Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan’s information minister, in a Tweet, adding they were received by a representative of the Pakistan Football Federation.

Chaudhry gave no details and it was not immediately clear how many players had entered the country and what their plans were.

An Islamic Emirate official last week told Australian broadcaster SBS that he did not think women would be allowed to play cricket because it was “not necessary” and would be against Islam.

“Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or play the kind of sports where they get exposed,” SBS quoted the deputy head of the Islamic Emirate’s cultural commission, Ahmadullah Wasiq, as saying.

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