Asghar Afghan took everyone by surprise when he retired from international cricket during the T20 World Cup 2021 at Abu Dhabi three months ago. But he had already done enough to raise the standard and pro life of cricket in Afghanistan.
He captained Afghanistan in its first ever Test match, and went on to play in five more. He also featured in 114 ODIs and 75 T20Is.
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He is glad that Afghanistan cricketers have become hot properties across the globe. “Players of my generation, like Mohammad Nabi and Nawroz Mangal, wanted to raise the benchmark of Afghanistan cricket,” said Afghan, who is playing for Asia Lions at the Legends League Cricket here.
“Our aim was to show that the youngsters in our country could play cricket and make money from it. We have shown the world our talent.”
His own talent was very much on display the other night as he starred in Lions’ win over India Maharajas. He made a 28-ball 69 and then took two wickets.
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Not surprisingly he was named Player of the Match. “It felt nice to do well for a team which has so many big stars,” he said. “There is plenty to learn from these great cricketers. And it is nice to talk and spend time with them.”
Looking ahead to the T20 World Cup to be held later this year in Australia, he said India and Pakistan could do well. “India generally does well in Australia and Pakistan has excellent bowlers,” he said. “The match between those teams should definitely be worth watching.”
(The writer is in Muscat at the invitation of Legends League Cricket)