Afghanistan take first step towards cricket World Cup

KARACHI, May 19, 2008 (AFP) – Burgeoning cricket talent Afghanistan are confident as they prepare for the first step towards the 2011 World Cup, captain Norooz Khan Mangal was quoted as saying Monday.

“The tour to Peshawar was a good one in which we won 13 out of 14 40-overs-a-side matches. In our domestic cricket, we have mostly 20-overs-a-side matches so the tour to Peshawar was a huge learning experience,” said Mangal.

The Afghan captain said his team has some special players who can perform against the best, including pacers Hamid Hassan, Dawlat Ahamdzai, Hasti Gul Abed and Ahmad Shah Ahmadi.

Amongst the batsmen, Karim Khan Sedeq and Nabi Eisakhil stand out, he said.

“They like to play aggressively and if they fire in the tournament, we will have an excellent chance to return from Jersey with flying colours.” Afghanistan are one of 12 teams featuring in the division five event of the ICC (International Cricket Council) World Cricket League, which starts in Jersey from May 23.

“A few years ago, any talk of Afghanistan playing in the World Cup would have been laughable. But not any more as we are taking the first step with the qualifying rounds,” Mangal is quoted as saying in