Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Afghan makes NW8

Afghan cricketer Hamid Hassan, who spent time last summer with the MCC Young Cricketers, has been selected to play at Lord's for the first time tomorrow. He has been named in an MCC team to play a 50-overs game against a Europe XI.

Hamid was first spotted by the MCC when he represented his country in the inaugural MCC v Afghanistan match in Bombay in March last year. The MCC, captained by Mike Gatting were soundly beaten by 179 runs.
The Nutley was present that day in Bombay. I don't think I have seen a ball being sprayed around the ground quite as much as that game: into the pavilion, onto Marine Drive, straight down the ground into a disused building site and, too finish all four sides off, onto a railway track. If memory serves me right, Gatt was out first ball, too.
Cricket's popularity in Afghanistan gained impetus after many of the refugees, who had fled the country in the early 1980s after the Soviet invasion, began to return from Pakistan, where they witnessed the game and started to play. In the last decade the membership of the Afghanistan Cricket Federation has grown from 500 to 12,000 members, according to Prospect magazine.