Tuesday, March 5, 2024

England vs Afghanistan: The underdog’s World Cup win is a victory for India – here’s why

Afghanistan notched up a spectacular win against defending world champions England by a margin of 69 runs. The triumph is only Afghanistan’s second victory in World Cup history, but its implications are far-reaching.

For years, Afghanistan’s cricket team struggled for recognition and resources, training in Pakistan during their nascent years and sometimes even taking up the bat and ball in refugee camps. Their entry into T20 and ODI cricket came against Pakistan, their neighbouring cricket powerhouse. 

However, a significant transition occurred when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) intervened, providing the fledgling team with the crucial support needed to escalate their game.

Greater Noida’s Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex became a surrogate home ground for the Afghan team from 2015 onwards, thanks to BCCI’s initiative. They shifted their base from Sharjah and even played international home matches against Ireland in this Indian city, according to PTI. Also, Afghanistan “hosted” a T20 series against Bangladesh in Dehradun, India.

India’s role in Afghanistan’s cricketing rise has been pivotal and goes beyond providing grounds and facilities. Former Indian cricketers like Lalchand Rajput and Manoj Prabhakar lent their expertise, serving as coaches for the Afghan team. Moreover, the BCCI went a step further, inviting then-Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to Bengaluru to witness Afghanistan’s inaugural Test match.

Afghanistan has now achieved Test status. The team’s participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has also played a role in popularising the sport back home. Afghanistan has regularly expressed gratitude, acknowledging India’s significant contribution to their cricketing journey.

Amul sponsors Afghanistan cricket team

For the 2019 ICC World Cup, Amul took on the role of main sponsor for the Afghanistan cricket team. This wasn’t the first instance of the Indian daily giant supporting a World Cup cricket team; they had previously backed New Zealand and the Netherlands. 

Fast-forward to 2023, and the relationship persists. Amul, a company with a two-decade history of exporting milk powders and baby food to Afghanistan, continues to sponsor the Afghan cricket team.

(With PTI inputs)

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Updated: 16 Oct 2023, 12:01 PM IST

#England #Afghanistan #underdogs #World #Cup #win #victory #India #heres

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