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Behind Afghanistan's rise in world cricket, BCCI, India's 'hidden role'

Behind Afghanistan's rise in world cricket, BCCI, India's 'hidden role'
Behind Afghanistan's rise in world cricket, BCCI, India's 'hidden role'

 



It's not just a fairy tale; Afghanistan's rise in world cricket is undoubtedly unparalleled. It was only in 2017 that they became full members of the International Cricket Council, and in 2024 the team progressed to the semi-finals of a World Cup (T20) for the first time. Often referred to as minnows or underdogs in big events, Afghanistan have produced some eye-catching performances this T20 World Cup, especially against New Zealand and Australia, to reach as far as the semi-finals. While much of the credit goes to the players for stepping up their game and delivering when it mattered most, India and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also have an important played a role in their rise.

How India and BCCI helped Afghanistan reach new heights in global cricket through their 'hidden role':

Home base in India: The Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida became Afghanistan's temporary 'home base' for the first time in 2015, all thanks to the BCCI. Afghanistan moved its base from Sharjah to Noida and even played international matches against Ireland in Greater Noida in 2017.

Greater Noida is not the only 'home' for Afghanistan, they had also 'hosted' a Twenty20 series against Bangladesh in Dehradun.

Guidance from Indian coaches: By providing facilities, the BCCI gave Afghanistan the platform to excel. But that wasn't all. Former Indian players Lalchand Rajput, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja have all coached the Afghan team in the past. In fact, Jadeja was recently their mentor during the 2023 ODI World Cup.

The BCCI, undisputedly the most powerful cricket board in the world, had even invited the then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to watch the team play its first Test match in Bengaluru, taking a major step forward to strengthen relations between the two countries and teams.

The incredible role of IPL: The Indian Premier League has perhaps made the biggest contribution to the success of Afghan players in the sport. Many Afghan players play in the T20 league and earn handsome salaries to not only help their own game but also inspire others in the country.

Over the years, the participation of Afghan players in the IPL has increased drastically and the numbers are only set to increase.

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