Peshawar: Afghan cricketers on Wednesday called for international help to establish the game now the anti-sports Taleban regime has been booted out of power.
|"We hope that sports in general and cricket in particular will flourish under the new regime," said Allah Dad Noori, captain of the Afghanistan cricket team. Noori, cricket development manager Haji Wali Mohammad and team manager Wahid Khan held a press conference to disassociate themselves from the Taleban. "We had no links with Taleban and now feel that the new regime will help us gain recognition at international level," Noori said. The International Cricket Council (ICC) gave Afghanistan affiliate membership in June but after the September 11 attacks in the United States had considered taking Afghanistan off the list. "We call on the international community and ICC to help us gain more footing," he said. Afghanistan featured in a non-first class event in Pakistan in October and some team members did not return home because of the US-led air strikes in Afghanistan. The International Olympic Council said on Tuesday that Afghanistan could be included in the 2004 Athens Games following the fall of the Taleban regime. The Afghanistan National Olympic Committee was suspended by the IOC when the Taleban took control of the country because of its treatment of women. Noori said with peace established, sport could prosper in Afghanistan. "We hope that with peace more and more young people will come into sports and since cricket is already popular in Afghanistan we can progress." There are more than 100 cricket clubs in Afghanistan. The game became popular at the end of the 1970s after refugees returned home from Pakistan, where the sport is firmly established. |