By Shyam Sundar Chennai, Jun 27 (PTI) Everything about Afghanistan is fascinating. It seems every aspect associated with their lives have a story attached to it and sports is no exception. The story of a country ravaged by war getting Test status has sent cricket fans across the globe into raptures. Its a matter of time when Rashid Khan will be seen in white flannels bamboozling in the batsmen with his sharp googlies. The Test status is also an assurance for the Gen-Next of Afghan cricket that they have a future if they can do well. With dreams in their eyes and determination to succeed, the U-19 national team of Afghanistan has touched base in Chennai for a preparatory camp for U-19 World Cup qualifiers. The boys are eager to follow the footsteps of their heroes Rashid and Mohammed Nabi, said under-19 coach Dawlat Ahmedzai. “Cricket has come a long way in the country in the past few years. The success had come after a lot of hard work and sacrifices. Also IPL has played a big role with Rashid Khans performance for Sunrisers Hyderabad has helped in taking the craze to another level. Rashid and Nabi playing IPL is the best thing that could have happened for us,” Ahmedzai told PTI during an interaction today. Ahmedzai thanked for support from the current government and also the general public, a big departure from the earlier troubled times. Just like South Africa played its first internationbal post apartheid against India (back in 1991), Ahmedzai wont mind if they make their debut against India but Zimbabwe is a more likely opponent as of now, he said. He feels that they have to build up on their impressive performances in T20s and ODIs. “We have played in the T20 World Cup and 50 overs World Cup in 2015 but this (becoming a Test nation) is bigger and has come at probably the right time. We need to build on this,” he added. “We have a good domestic structure and now that we have got Test status, there is big scope for improvement in infrastructural quality. We have eight stadiums and multiple academies in our country.” Among the next batch of crickters, the coach picked Zahir Khan, Ibrahim and Imran Mohammeidi among ones to watch out for. Teeangers Mohammeidi and Parwiz Malikzai couldnt hide their excitement. “It is a massive boost for our country. Cricket is the number one sport in Afghanistan and this a big step forward,” Malikzai said. Malikzai however is not happy how international media potrays Afghanistan as a “war torn nation”. “Cities like Kabul are as safe as any other,” said the left-handed all-rounder, who is a fan of Indian player Yuvraj Singh said. Mohammeidi felt that Rashid is an inspiration for countless youngsters to take up cricket. “Test status is a huge motivation for the entire country. It will chart a new path for Afghan cricket,” Malikzai and Mohammeidi signed off. PTI SS KHS KHSadvertisement
Super League Almeida and Simic promise 100% against Kelantan to not skew relegation battle Ooi Kin Fai Last updated 2 years ago 07:10 28/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Melaka United Super League Melaka United v Selangor Melaka United Selangor Melaka United secures another season in the top flight but intends to keep the winning run into the final match of the campaign. Melaka United will get to play in the Super League in 2018 after securing a 2-1 win over Selangor on the penultimate day of the 2017 league season. The win leaves T-Team FC, Sarawak and Kelantan as the three teams that will play for their place on the final day – to see who will join Penang in the Premier League next season.When Eduardo Almeida took over in mid season, it looked like a lost cause for Melaka in their fight for survival. However, three straight wins including this one against Selangor, helped pushed them up the table as other teams faltered. Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. The Portuguese has also found a working formula up front with Marco Simic firing in the goals as Jeon Woo-Young pulls the strings in midfield. The inclusion of Felipe de Souza has beefed up the potency of their attack with the team scoring 12 goals in those three matches.”I feel very happy for everyone. We had a very hard job and hard work to arrive at this target. Thank you for the management for always trusting in me. We win 2-1 and we stay in the Super League and it’s all that matter.””We’ll do everything to make a good game because we take it very seriously. Maybe there are some teams depending on us to fight for a result so we won’t take it easy,” said Almeida after the match in an interview with the host broadcaster.With Melaka taking on Kelantan in the final match and Sarawak going up against T-Team, fans of the latter two teams will be hoping that Melaka do give it their all to win the match. It’s not only Almeida who mentioned it was important to take the match seriously, Simic also echoed the same sentiment.”If you see the second half of the season, maybe we are one of the top half team. There’s still one more game. Now everybody can relax because we have achieved our target of staying in the Super League.””I don’t see the reason the players don’t play 100% in the last game. It’s a sport mentality to win every game. I don’t worry about the team, I’m sure we’ll play for 3 points,” said Simic.With eight goals to his name thus far in the Super League, Simic is eyeing to hit double figures and the professional in him will be aiming to do just that against Kelantan next month.