By Ilham Yasini and Mutaqid Momand

The construction of Ghazi Amanullah Khan International Cricket Stadium in Jalalabad has been finished. The first international standard cricket ground has been built in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. They have made the cricket stadium in 12 acres from 35 acres of ground; they will use the rest of the ground which is 19 acres for the administrative buildings, swimming pool, and hostel for the players, pavilion and car parking.

Engineer Fazhly
The plan is to use the ground for national team training as well as catering to the 280 clubs in the province. Engineer Fazhly, the designer and the constructor of the stadium says they worked day and night to complete the first phase of the stadium in less than one year. He says that they have completed the first phase of the stadium in eight months, “after doing much research we have completed the structure, we had travelled to United Arab Emirates to see the cricket stadiums there and after that we structured the map of stadium. We agreed with the cricket Board to make 7000 chairs for the people, but as it's clear that there is more cricket in Nangarhar than in any other province and it’s also the first international cricket stadium in Afghanistan, that’s why we prepared 14000 seats. We also did the agreement of 25 bathrooms and 4 rooms but because of the company of Haji Najeeb Zarab which they made 35 bathrooms and 5 rooms, from these 5 rooms one room is for pumping and watering the grass. Thirdly, we brought special mud and grass, (they call it Bermuda grass) from Multan and Lahore, and we made the watering place for it. Afterwards, we made the steel net all around the stadium and made eight wickets. Six of them are turf and two of them are mud.”

Engineer Fazhly went on to say that, “all around the stadium we decorated the foot path with beautiful stones, which makes the stadium more beautiful.” He said about the watering system, that we have brought many of the things from Turkey. About the score board he said “until now we don’t have the digital score board but soon we will have it, while making the other phases.”

The ACB Chairman at the inauguration of Ghazi Amanullah Stadium

Engineer Fazhly says about the expenses of the stadium (first 35 acres of ground worth US$1.5 million which is gifted by Haji Najeeb Zarab, who also paid US$800,000 cash for the help in the first phase. The head of Afghanistan Cricket Board Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal has given US$1 million from cricket Board side too. All the expenses for the first phase Mr. Fazhly says is US1.8 million. He says that all the expenses for the first phase have been followed by the Ministry of Rural Development and Rehabilitation.

The ground was inaugurated just before the national and U-19 teams left for Canada and Ireland respectively. In front of a capacity crowd, the two sides took each other on in a televised Twenty20, the seniors coming through as winners.

Nawroz Mangal, the captain of the Afghanistan national team said, “This is a moment of joy and happiness that today we have a cricket stadium of international standard.” Fast-bowler Hamid Hassan said, “Through this stadium they can find good talented cricketers, and this a good step for the Afghanistan cricket team.”

The relatively mild weather in Jalalabad allows for the playing of cricket around the year, contrary to some parts of Afghanistan where it snows and cricket can only be played during summer and spring.

Afghanistan’s First Cricket Stadium
Afghanistan Has a New Home Ground
Afghanistan Cricket Profile

Filed August 8th, 2011