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Oct 06 2013

Some good news from Afghanistan

The country has qualified for the 2015 Cricket World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand. Given the fact that this country has been in pretty much a permanent state of major war for the past three decades, that turmoil in the country has seemed to be continual fact of life, and the fact that cricket is relatively new to that country, this is a remarkable achievement.

The World Cup format consists of 14 teams, initially split into two group of seven each, with four from each group moving onto to the second round. The countries expected to advance are the traditional powers England, South Africa, India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, West Indies, and New Zealand, but the gap between those teams and the next tier of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe is narrowing rapidly and either or both of them could well pull off an upset and displace one of the favorites from the second round. The remaining teams of Ireland and Afghanistan and two teams yet to qualify (likely to be from Scotland, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, and Kenya) are less likely to advance in this competition (though Ireland did do so in 2007) but it would be thrilling if they did make it.

I am really surprised at the increasing worldwide popularity of cricket, with many more nations taking up the game. Right now there are 10 full members of the International Cricket Council, 37 countries that are Associate Members where the game is “firmly established and organised but do not qualify for Full Membership” and 60 nations that are affiliate members where cricket is played. The US has been an Associate member since as far back as 1965 but has not made much headway.

Afghanistan is the newest nation to achieve Associate status, doing so only in 2013, so its achievement is all the more remarkable.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    left0ver1under

    An unsurprising fact is that all ten full members, half the ODI associate members (19 of 37) and a score of the affiliate members are British Commonwealth countries. And most of those that aren’t Commonwealth countries are not baseball playing countries.

    As much as the US wants baseball to spread and get back in the olympics, it seems cricket is growing faster.

  2. 2
    trina

    Cricket’s a great game. Baseball… Not so much. :P

  3. 3
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    Until the American Civil War baseball and cricket were about equally popular in the USA. After the war professional baseball was established and one of its selling points was that it was an “American” game. Even so, there were US teams until the first World War. The Philadelphia Cricket Club was accepted as a first-class side and regularly toured the English counties and played English teams. Bart king topped the English bowling averages in 1908 and has been described as one of the best bowlers ever.

  4. 4
    Mano Singham

    Interesting! I was not aware of this. Thanks.

  5. 5
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Seconded. Anything but cricket , well, just isn’t cricket as the saying goes! ;-)

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    BTW. Were you aware of the story of Fawad Ahmed

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawad_Ahmed

    -former Pakistani refugee turned Australian spin bowler Mano Singham? Great success story and bloke.

    (I’m actually facebook friends with him even and wish him all the best. Much as that may surprise some on FTB who don’t really know me.)

  7. 7
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Well done Afghanistan – hope they do well – unless they’re playing us of course! ;-)

  8. 8
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    There’s a documentary about this team available on Netflix in Canada, I have it in my queue, just haven’t gotten to it yet. I hope they qualify!

  9. 9
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    (for the second round, I mean, it’d just be too Cinderella-awesome not to want that!)

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