Oct 232013
Kenyan snub to add to Sri Lanka’s CHOGM woes

Adding to Sri Lanka’s jitters over the rights controversy surrounding the Commonwealth meeting [CHOGM] in Colombo next month, Kenya is reported to be quietly lobbying African countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, South and Zambia also to boycott, for another reason, as a protest against Commonwealth’s failure to take a decisive stance against the prosecution of Kenya’s President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the ICC. Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier announced his decision to boycott the CHOGM, and UK’s shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander also had urged Prime Minister Cameron to stay away from the summit to express British concern about Sri Lanka’s lack of progress on improving human rights. South Sudan and Burundi which had launched bids to join Commonwealth have suspended their bids indefinitely to support Kenya’s boycott.

The House of Commons foreign affairs committee has warned of “scant evidence of progress in political and human rights in Sri Lanka”, and the UN high commissioner for human rights warns that the country is moving in “an increasingly authoritarian direction.”

In the Guardian, Alexander wrote that the coalition had missed a chance to put pressure on Sri Lanka before the summit, after the country’s government decided to impeach its chief justice earlier this year.

The Guardian reported: “The prime minister chose to hand away all his cards more than six months ahead of the summit by confirming that he and the foreign secretary, William Hague, would attend. His mystifying decision represented both a misjudgement and a missed opportunity,” he said. “But it is not too late for the prime minister to take a different and better approach. First, David Cameron should now reverse his earlier decision to attend the summit. In doing so he would make clear to the Sri Lankan authorities the extent of Britain’s concern.”

Cameron signalled he is still intending to go to the meeting as he met Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, at Downing Street on Monday. Canada had earlier snubbed Mr Sharma, an Indian diplomat, saying that Sharma was “acting as a shill [a stooge] for the Sri Lankan leadership, defending their every mistake.”

The Indian diplomat had reportedly concealed crucial legal advice showing Rajapakse’s sacking of the country’s chief justice in January was “illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of international law.”

[Full Coverage]

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Oct 172013
Machan signs two-year Sussex deal

Scotland international batsman Matt Machan has signed a new two-year contract with Sussex.

The 22 year-old Brighton-born left-hander came through the club’s academy and scored his maiden first-class century this season.

“After having a breakthrough season this year, there was only one place I could see me playing my cricket over the next couple of years,” he said.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me to get to where I am now.”

Continue reading the main story

We are all excited about the prospect of Matt building on his successes of last season

Mark Robinson Sussex cricket manager

He added: “I will continue to work hard to achieve my current and future goals.”

Machan featured four times for Sussex in the County Championship last season and topped the averages for the Hove-based club in both one-day competitions.

He averaged 64.25 in the YB40 and 31.28 in the FLt20.

Machan qualifies for Scotland through his parents and he made both his one-day and Twenty20 international debuts in 2013.

He hit his maiden ODI century in June when he scored 114 in the match against Kenya in Aberdeen.

Sussex cricket manager Mark Robinson said: “Matt had an outstanding year in all forms of the game.

“We are all excited about the prospect of him building on his successes of last season.”

Oct 072013
CW Player Of The Week - Hamid Hassan
Monday 7 October 2013 

by Daniel Grummitt

Hamid Hassan celebrates a wicket

Hamid Hassan led Afghanistan’s bowling attack with aplomb against Kenya.


There has been very little top-level international cricket action over the past week due to the break for the Champions League Twenty20. Afghanistan and Kenya are the only sides to have featured in full men’s internationals, while Suzie Bates hit an unbeaten century and led New Zealand Women to a one-run win over West Indies Women yesterday.

Afghan fast-bowler Hamid Hassan is the runaway winner of this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week award. The flamboyant 26 year-old returned the excellent figures of 20-6-34-9 across the three internationals that Afghanistan played last week.

He began by taking three for four from three overs in the first T20 International and then picked up hauls of four for 19 and two for 11 as Afghanistan were popular winners of the two World Cricket League Championship matches and qualified for the 2015 ICC World Cup.

He led the potent Afghan bowing attack – one that surely must rank as the best in associate and affiliate cricket – well, but was supported ably by the likes of Mohammad Nabi, Shapoor Zadran, Hamza Hotak and Samiullah Shenwari.

Hassan is a strong contender as the best of all bowlers at associate and affiliate level, especially now that Boyd Rankin has decided to pursue a career with England. He has taken 33 wickets in 19 ODIs at an average of less than 20 and averages an eye-watering 10.66 from 11 T20 Internationals.

Besides the stats, he is an entertainer, as demonstrated by the colourful headband and larger-than-life personality. In a time when sport is becoming increasingly about money he reminds us all of the joys of playing it for its own sake.

© Cricket World 2013

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Oct 072013
Rahmat, bowlers take Afghanistan closer to win

Kenya 162 and 93 for 8 (Baras 2-7, Shirzad 2-14) lead Afghanistan 234 (Rahmat 144, Aga 5-46) by 21 runs

Afghanistan's Rahmat Shah hit 144 to transform the game, Afghanistan v Kenya, ICC Intercontinental Cup, 2nd day, Dubai, October 7, 2013

Rahmat Shah’s maiden century helped Afghanistan to an important 72-run first-innings lead © ICC/Saleem Sanghati

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Afghanistan took firm control of the Intercontinental match against Kenya in Dubai after a maiden century from Rahmat Shah and quick wickets by their bowlers. With two days left, they are now in touching distance of a win with Kenya only 21 runs ahead with their last two wickets remaining.

Sixteen wickets had fallen on the first day and 12 went down on the second, most of them in a quick succession. But the difference between the situation of the two teams was due to a 122-run stand for the seventh wicket between Rahmat and Mohammad Nasim Baras. Rahmat, who had only one half-century in first-class cricket before this match, did bulk of the scoring and went past the 100-mark for the first time in his career. He got ample support from Baras who played out 125 deliveries for his 32 in the partnership.

Once the stand was broken, the remaining batsmen didn’t survive for long. Rahmat was the last batsman to be dismissed after scoring 144, that included five sixes, but his innings had ensured an important 72-run lead.

Kenya’s second innings started the same way as their first: they lost their first two wickets within first four overs and never recovered from that position. Their innings never really got going as the Afghanistan bowlers made regular strikes to put the team within sight of a huge win. Collins Obuya was the top-scorer in the innings with only 16 runs as four bowlers picked up a couple of wickets each.

Oct 042013
Afghanistan cricket team beat Kenya to reach country’s first World Cup

After nearly 35 years of invasion, conflict, international apathy, further invasion and faltering democracy, eleven cricket players may have succeeded where the Afghanistan government and the international community has failed.

Today the country’s fledgling cricket team took another momentous step in unifying the war torn country by qualifying for the country’s first ever Cricket World Cup.

The team, which was only founded in 2001, secured its place at the 2015 event in Australia and New Zealand with a crushing victory over Kenya at the World Cricket League Championships in the United Arab Emirates. 

Qualification came to down to the wire with a victory required in the team’s last match of the competition to make it certain, but the young team remained composed and won by seven wickets at the Sharjah ground.

“This is a big day in my life,” all-rounder Mohammad Nabi said. “It’s a gift to a young [Afghan] generation.”

Afghanistan bowled out Kenya for a 93 runs in 43.3 overs with spinners Nabi, Hamza Hotak, and Karim Sadiq sharing seven wickets. Nabi then scored an unbeaten 46 off 42 balls and hit the winning boundary as Afghanistan raced to a triumphant 96-3 in just 20.5 overs

Fast bowler Hamid Hasan helped to restrict Kenya to only seven runs in the first 10 overs with some superb swing bowling, and clean-bowled tailenders Nelson Odhiambo and Hiren Varaiya off successive deliveries.

“I’ve already lost all my words, but I am so, so happy. This is the most happiest day of my life,” Hasan said. “To me it’s an unbelievable dream come true.”

Team coach Kabir Khans, who was a Pakistani test crickets before leading the team, said, “This is the  best day of my coaching life.”

The game may have been played in UEA, but a thousand jubilant Afghan fans watched their team’s historic victory on a giant screen in a stadium in capital Kabul. “We don’t want fight, we want peace,” said local resident Tahir Mustafa while watching the match.

Under Taliban rule the sport was banned along with all forms of outdoor sport and cricket grounds were more likely to be used for executing political opponents than spin bowling or batting practise, let alone a professional match.

This didn’t stop a Taliban spokesman jumping on the popularity of the sport last year during a one day international match against Pakistan. Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP, “I pray that Afghans come out as winners”.

The sport became one of the war-ravaged Afghanistan’s top sports after refugees from camps in Pakistan brought it to the country following the Soviet invasion in 1979. It’s following in the capital is limited but the fan base is large and dedicated in the south and east of the country, nearer the Pakistan border.

Afghanistan Finance Minister Mohammad Omar Zakhilwal, also a member of the country’s cricket board, said qualification has brought smiles on the faces of his countrymen.

“Our people have seen years and years of sadness and now we are among the best 12 cricketing nations in the world,” he added. “We will encourage businessmen and the government to support cricket.”

Friday’s result was the latest in a series of sporting successes for Afghanistan, which beat the Indian under-23 cricket team in Singapore in August. Last month the war-ravaged country’s football team won its first major trophy at the South Asian Football Federation Championship.

Like the country’s successful football team the cricket team unites the country’s ethnic groups with local reports saying Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras were all praying for victory.

Afghanistan has played in the last two World Twenty20s, but to qualify for a World Cup is remarkable progress for a country which has only a handful of turf pitches and five years ago was playing in World Cricket League Division 5 – the lowest ranked tournament among the affiliate members. Since then the team has seen a rapid rise and is now an Associate member of the International Cricket Council.

In 2015 the team will join cricketing powers including Australia, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. That doesn’t seem to intimidate Nabi though: “Maybe we know about the weaknesses of some teams … we will do better and do our best to beat some full member teams.” he said.

Oct 042013
Afghanistan reach first World Cup

World Cricket League, Sharjah: Afghanistan 96-3 (20.5 overs) beat Kenya 93 (43.3 overs) by seven wickets

Match scorecard:

Afghanistan will play in the World Cup for the first time in 2015 after beating Kenya by seven wickets in their final qualifying match in Sharjah.

The country – one of the world’s poorest and affected by decades of conflict – only received associate status, the second tier below Test nations, earlier this year. 

They reached a target of 94 to finish second behind Ireland in the World Cricket League  and will be in England’s group at the World Cup, which is being held in Australia and New Zealand.

World Cup 2015 Pool A

England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan, qualifier 3

Their first match in the competition will be against Bangladesh in Canberra on 18 February 2015 and they will also face Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand before taking on England in Sydney on 13 March.

Needing a win to move above United Arab Emirates and Netherlands, Afghanistan’s bowlers restricted Kenya well, with only Morris Ouma and Rakep Patel reaching double figures.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi, in his 27th one-day international, steered them to victory with an unbeaten 46 that featured three fours and two sixes.

In the 20th over, the 28-year-old thumped a six over long-on and in the next dispatched slow left-armer Shem Ngoche out of the ground. He struck the historic winning runs two balls later with a four through mid-wicket.

“I can’t express my feelings,” Nabi said. “It is a very big day in my life. I’m sure there will be huge celebrations back home. I’m happy for the people of Afghanistan and look forward to playing in Australia and New Zealand.

“I didn’t expect to play in a World Cup when I started playing cricket. But now I can cherish this moment and look forward to playing against the best sides in some of the best playing facilities. Playing in a World Cup will be one grade up and we’ll try to work hard and do better.”

World Cup 2015 Pool B

South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland, qualifier 4

Afghanistan coach Kabir Khan, the former Pakistan left-arm seamer who played four Tests and 10 ODIs from 1994-2000, said: “I’m lost for words. This is the best day of my coaching career. I had very few great and memorable days in my life and this is right up there. It has been a dream for so many years and now we have achieved it.

“There will be tremendous atmosphere in Afghanistan and I’m so happy for them. This year they’ll get two Eids [Muslim holidays] to celebrate.”

Two more associate nations will qualify for the tournament in a play-off competition in New Zealand next year.

The Netherlands and the UAE will compete with Scotland, Kenya, Namibia, Canada, Uganda, Hong Kong, Nepal and Papua New Guinea – the latter led by Kent and former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, who was born there.

Afghanistan were playing in Division Five of the World Cricket League as recently as 2008.

In 2010, they reached the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies by winning a qualification event in UAE, but lost both group games in the tournament to India and South Africa.

They also qualified for last year’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka after finishing second to Ireland in qualifying, but were beaten by both India and England in the opening group phase.

Oct 032013
Highlights - Afghanistan Thrash Kenya
Thursday 3 October 2013 

Watch highlights of Afghanistan’s crushing eight-wicket win over Kenya in the first World Cricket League Championship One-Day International in Sharjah.

The victory means that by winning the second and final match tomorrow (4th October) Afghanistan can automatically qualify for the 2015 World Cup. (Live streaming of that game will be available via the ICC’s YouTube channel on Cricket World).

They dominated this match from start to finish, dismissing Kenya for just 89 and racing to victory in less than 18 overs.

Captain Nawroz Mangal led the way with the bat by scoring an unbeaten 52 after Hamid Hassan had taken four for 19 and Shapoor Zadran (2-16) and Samiullah Shenwari (2-14) had also impressed with the ball.

Afghanistan have now won eight of their 13 matches in the competition so far and one more victory will see them leapfrog the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates to book their place at what would be their first ever appearance at a 50-over World Cup.

If successful, they will play in Group A against Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and another qualifier.

Video courtesy of SNTV

© Cricket World 2013

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Oct 022013
Afghanistan March On With Thumping Win
Wednesday 2 October 2013 

by John Pennington

Hamid Hassan

Hamid Hassan took four wickets to help set up Afghanistan’s win against Kenya

International Cricket Council

Afghanistan 95-2 (Nawroz Mangal 52no) beat
Kenya 89 (Hamid Hassan 4-19) by eight wickets
ICC World Cricket League Championship, Sharjah

Afghanistan needed just 17.5 overs to chase down a target of 90 to beat Kenya by eight wickets in the first of two World Cricket League Championship One-Day Internatinals in Sharjah.

The crushing result puts them one win away from joining Ireland as automatic qualifiers for the 2015 World Cup.

Kenya were dismissed for just 89 in 37.5 overs as Afghanistan dominated the match from start to finish.

Only three players reached double figures as Hamid Hassan returned figures of four for 19, Shapoor Zadran two for 16 and Samiullah Shenwari two for 14.

Maurice Ouma top scored with 24 in 48 balls, Rageb Aga laboured for 51 balls to make 18 and Hiren Varaiya, batting at number 10, made a more sprightly 11 in 27 before he was the last man to fall.

Afghanistan then set about reaching their target as quickly as they could, nd were more than halfway there when lunch was taken.

Mohammad Shehzad was dropped by Nehemiah Odhiambo off Aga before he was dismissed by Varaiya for 33 and three balls later Hashmatullah Shaidi fell without scoring.

However, Nawroz Mangal stood firm with an unbeaten 52 in 60 balls, including the winning runs courtesy of a six, to hurry Afghanistan to another convincing win following their 106-run in the Twenty20 International two days ago.

The second and final match is in two days time.

© Cricket World 2013

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