Hasti Gul (in red) showing the way

In another sign of cricket’s grass-roots growth in Afghanistan, Jalalabad, for long the ‘home of cricket’ in the country has a new academy. Funded by the private sector and run by former national player and national bowling coach Hasti Gul, the Nangarhar Cricket Academy has been set up to keep the conveyor belt of talent in the province flowing to the highest possible levels of the game.

Hamid Hassan is from Nangarhar as well as Shapoor Zadran and Sami Shenwari, Karim Sadiq my brother too,” says Hasti Gul “and now we some Shabir Noori, Aftab Alam (also my brother) and Najibullah Zadran who is doing well in the ICC U/19 tournament in Ireland. There is the master of Twenty20 Fitratullah, then Farid Ahmad, Zamir Khan, Khairullah, Abdullah Adil, Shaukat Zaman, Waleed Zadran…” (We have to stop Hasti there before he and I get recruited as Nangarhar census officers).

The Afghanistan senior team training at the Nangarhar Cricket Academy prior to their tour of Canada, July 2011

There are grounds springing up all over Afghanistan, with an impressive facility nearly completed in Kabul itself as well as one underway in Jalalabad, but in the Nangarhar Cricket Academy, thanks to the numbers of players coming through its gates, its eight wickets (turf, artificial and cement), its bowling machine, gym, rollers, grass cutters and sheer size, plus the inspiration of the Director of the Academy Hasti Gul and the national team stars who use the facilities, there is a chance that the raw talent of Afghanistan can be polished.

Boys from the ages of eight to eighteen are taken on in groups during the evenings and Afghan weekends. “I tell my players to be big in Afghanistan is one thing, to be big in the world is another. Everyone is trying hard to beat Afghanistan now and what we need to do is know how the best in the other parts play and then be even better than them. As Nangarhar Cricket Academy we are ready for outside tours to every country in the world because of our sponsors and strong support.” They are next playing in a Ramadan Cup in Karachi.

Two Putting Something Back
Nangarhar Cricket Academy
Afghanistan Cricket Profile

Filed August 2nd, 2011