The most popular sport of Afghanistan is cricket and Afghanistan’s National Cricket Team represents the country on international forums. The neighbouring country Pakistan did helped the game to take root. The former Pakistani captain Inzamam-ul-Haq coached the Afghan national team in the past.
In February 2017 Afghanistan was awarded 1st class status for four day domestic competition by International Cricket Council (ICC). On the same year they were also granted List A status for Twenty20 (T20) domestic cricket. On June 22, 2017 Afghanistan became a full member of ICC.
The first cricket match that was played in Afghanistan was in 1893, during an Anglo-Afghan war with British troops. The match was played in Kabul, after this it took cricket hundred years to return on this land.
In the 1990s cricket was gaining popularity among the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and they continued to play cricket even after returning to Afghanistan. After witnessing the immense popularity of the sport, the Afghanistan Cricket Federation was established in 1995 and became an affiliate member of ICC in 2001.
The national cricket team earned the official one day international status in April 2009 after their win against Namibia in Krugersdorp. With this they also qualified for the 2012 ICC Under 19’s Cricket World Cup.
Now cricket is one of the most popular sports in the country as the Afghanistan National Cricket team made quick and good progress in the international world of cricket.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) is the governing body of the sport with his headquarters located in Kabul. ACB represents Afghanistan at the ICC and was an associate member from 2013 to 2017. They became the full member of ICC in 2017 and also became the member of Asian Cricket Council.
Domestic competitions are being arranged as Inter-Provincial tournaments. Initially the structure of the tournaments was consisted of 25 overs and 22 of the provinces had their own provincial team, representing them on these forums. The objective of such tournament is to spread the game across the provinces and find new talent for the Afghanistan National Cricket team.
Now with the expansion the structure of these tournaments has been altered from 25 overs to 50 over matches. Now 32 out of 34 provinces have their own provincial team which represents them in Inter-Provincial tournaments. The Daykundi province and Farah province are the only provinces which have no representative team.
The Afghan National Cricket team represents Afghanistan in all International Cricket forums. It was established in 2001 and in the same year, it got an invitation from Pakistan for domestic circuit. Now the team is being trained and coached by Bangladesh. Since their inception they are improving and did achieved great milestones, some of them are listed below:
- Winner of ACC Twenty20 Cup in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013
- Winner of 2009-2010 ICC Intercontinental Cup
- Winner of 2010 ACC Trophy (Elite)
- Winner of 2014 ACC Premier League
- Winner of 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifier
The government is still working on bringing the cricket to Afghanistan ground as still the Afghan National Cricket team is unable to play home matches inside Afghanistan due to security conditions and lack of International standard facility.