The Rise of Afghan Cricket

A story of hope and inspiration

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 played in the ICC Cricket World Cup. The Team was granted Test status in 2017 and will be playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The Team is inspiring the hopes and dreams of the Afghan people and uniting a war-torn nation. 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.  

Cricket is now the nation’s fastest growing sport. There are 320 cricket clubs in Afghanistan and 32 of its 34 provinces have a cricket team. The Afghanistan Cricket Board has divided the country into 5 cricket playing regions and each region has 4-10 provincial teams. 11 provinces have their own cricket stadium. There is now an Afghanistan Premier League which was based in Dubai this year and attracted players from all over the world.

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.  

Impact of AC’s cricket projects 2009-18:

In partnership with the MCC and with funding support from private donors and the UK Government, AC has supported grassroots cricket for over 100,000 children 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.

  • 105 pitches built (includes 2019) at schools serving well over 100,000 children
  • 100 schools provided with cricket clothing and kit
  • 4,600 children coached
  • 200 school teachers coached
  • 12 regional tournaments held
  • ICC Level 1 coaching programme for 44 men and women
  • Players coached at our camps have played in the U16 and U19 National sides and in the Afghanistan National Cricket Team
  • Girls’ cricket: AC has built pitches and arranged coaching for girls and would like to play its part in the promotion of women’s cricket through culturally sensitive advocacy and financial backing of coaching camps at school level. The charity is exploring ways to do this in a very difficult environment which is fraught with sensitivity and challenge.
  • At 83 schools where AC has built pitches, the charity has also renovated school buildings.
  • Support with infrastructure, kit, coaching and tournaments for young Afghans with disability and visual impairment.

"Ten years ago there was nothing. Now in the street, in the schools, everywhere there is just cricket"

SAMIUlLAH SHENWARI