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RAEES AHMADZAI: LEADING AFGHAN CRICKET

The Afghanistan captain comes to Malaysia on a mission: to win the 2006 ACC Trophy.

How did you start playing cricket?

When we were forced to migrate to Pakistan during the Russian occupation in Afghanistan, our families lived in a refugee camps in Peshawar, Pakistan. We used to play with the locals, not with a cricket ball, but with white tennis balls. Slowly I picked up interest in cricket. A while later I joined the most popular club, Afghan Cricket, in 1996, which was then run by Taj Malik, the current ACF General Secretary. After a lot of hard work I was amongst a 14 member squad that was to tour Pakistan.

What is your main ambition?

My pleasure is just to play cricket while representing my dear homeland Afghanistan. Basically, I am a cricket player. For my future plan, I wish to become an umpire. I am sure if I become a good umpire I will be able to see cricket more closely. Like most say, it’s about balancing important things, so as of now I am a full time cricketer. I would like to commend the ACC in helping us learn the game. Prior to my interest in umpiring I had no idea about cricket. I feel after playing the game I will be able to grow into a good umpire and will represent my country, Afghanistan, in the umpiring arena of international cricket.

Could you point out your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement in cricket is to play for Afghanistan. Another occasion was my first ever Man of the Match award against Hong Kong on my one-day debut where I scored 60 not out and took 3 wickets.