The Afghan National Cricket team has enjoyed a dazzling success in recent years, rising out of obscurity 10 years ago to be in the top 10 in the ICC world rankings for both ODI and T20.
The team had its early genesis in the refugee camps of Pakistan, where young Afghans who had fled the war in their own country, were growing up, their days spent playing cricket with sticky tape balls and branches for bats. They had a dream. One day they wanted to have an Afghanistan National Cricket Team and to play in the World Cup. In 2015 their dream came true and they have become the heroes of their country, role models to young people who have grown up in a land of conflict and hardship, bringers of hope and joy.
Since 2008, AC has been supporting cricket in Afghanistan. It began with delivery of equipment to the Afghan Team when their National Academy was a dust field in Kabul and the team was in Division 5 of the World Cricket League. Alex Fane, AC Founder's son had heard about the struggling Afghanistan Team and wanted to support. His research led him to Matthew Fleming, former England cricketer and Captain of Kent. Fleming made an introduction to the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), who were looking to help. In partnership with the MCC, AC has supported grassroots cricket in 22 provinces, offering the young people of Afghanistan the opportunity to participate in and to learn the skills of the nation’s fastest growing sport.
In 2009/10 the M.C.C. gave financial backing for AC’s cricket projects, under the brand of M.C.C. Spirit of Cricket. A private donor then took on the funding from 2010-12, retaining the brand of the Spirit of Cricket. In 2013, the M.C.C. Foundation awarded AC a 3 year grant. AC received funding from UK Government in 2016 to build cricket pitches in schools and renovate and upgrade school facilities.
"Ten years ago there was nothing. Now in the street, in the schools, everywhere there is just cricket"