DAWLAT AHMADZAI: AFGHAN ORIGINAL

ICC World Cricket League Division 5 2008 in Jersey
© ICC

In 2001 we were still crossing over from Kabul to Peshawar to play cricket. We were still not with the ICC or ACC. We used to join different clubs and play for them. I joined Dev Sports and Malik Sports clubs. They were really nice clubs and the owner of Malik Sports had a good relation with Afghanistan cricketers and Karim, Nawroz and I played for him and Malik is one of the clubs that won the Pakistan club championships. In 2003 we got membership from the ACC and in 2004 we went to Malaysia for the first ACC Trophy. The boys were inexperienced there but we learnt a lot from that tournament.

Crossing the border was always interesting. One time Raees had to be a bus-conductor in order to get across, another time, it was so late at night, there were no buses and we traveled across the border with some sheep in a truck. The guards at Turkham were always aggressive and suspicious and getting across was never pleasant but it made us more determined to do well in the cricket once we got across.


© Thusith Wijedoru/ICC
For the future cricketers of Afghanistan we just bring the cricket of Afghanistan and show it to the people and now no one can say that ‘I don’t have a future in cricket’. We feel we have a bright future in cricket and with hard work we will all succeed in the team. There are many problems but in cricket we want to improve and develop everyday.

The proudest achievement is all our success over the years. From Division 5, Division 4, Division 3 to getting ODI status in Division 1 and qualifying for the T20 World Cup.


© ICC

There is a lot of mental toughness in everyone. Some players used to walk one or two hours across mountains with cricket gear on their backs at night just to play cricket. We just had a good feeling about being good cricketers. We would’ve never guessed we’d be playing in a World Cup, we just play for Afghanistan.

Now there is a lot of talent and we have got exposure to international cricket. Now we can say we can play against big teams. We just have to keep playing well and in the future we will surely win more games.

After the current players retire, they will start coaching and they can scout new talent. We also have a good Under-19 team and from the junior teams we can pick new players for the senior squad. If they can create good junior teams, then it will be good.

Coaching at an AYCSO camp, 2009

People tell me that I can do more work for Afghanistan cricket. Even I think I can help develop cricket because I know the conditions and I can also build a good foundation for cricket. I will also work hard to help improve the game. I do have some ideas. Afghanistan can be divided into four zones and each zone should have Under-15, Under-16 and Under-19 teams and also a senior team. Then we can make tournaments between the zones and also within the zones themselves. If this is done, we can create strong junior teams and the future of Afghanistan cricket will be bright. We can also spread cricket in this way and start building grounds as well.

We need a financial policy, a marketing policy and a development policy. There is USAID who can spend US$100 million on developing sport in Afghanistan. The Governor of Loghar is very well known to me and my family has land almost as big as Barbados in Afghanistan some of which we can use for cricket. Every child and parent is now pro-cricket.

I’ve played international cricket against teams like India, travelled the world playing for Afghanistan so I am very happy. Now I would like to see Afghanistan do well as an ODI nation.

Nothing is too tough.

Related:
Afghanistan Cricket Profile

Filed June 11th, 2010