Afghanistan fans show the spirit of cricket lives on in Dehradun
The three-match T20I series between Afghanistan and Bangladesh is a new dawn for Uttarakhand's capital city of Dehradun. The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, situated in the outskirts of the city and was only recently inaugurated, will host its first ever international encounter, however, one which doesn't have the Men in Blue on either side.
The city has been turned into a war zone, with police and armed personnel manning every corner of the road leading to the stadium. The local crowd, though, has been lining up outside the stadium from a good three hours before the start of the match.
Speaking to Sportskeeda about playing at Dehradun, Shafiq Stanikzai, Chief Executive of Afghanistan Cricket Board said, "It will be a real good opportunity for us to get good number of games to get exposure, showcase our talent against top teams of the world. It's a very good opportunity for us."
In the midst of Indian fans who were thronging the stadium with caps and jerseys of the Indian Cricket Team and some IPL teams as well, a group of Afghanistan fans, with an Indian and an Afghan flag were the center of attraction. Their gesture further highlights the gratitude of the Afghanistan fans towards the BCCI and their decision to allow Afghanistan to play practice matches against every international side touring India.
"The best thing about this place is that it looks like Afghanistan, with the mountains surrounding the stadium. It feels like home," Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai had said yesterday and those five Afghans fans showed that this spirit of cricket lives on in Dehradun and the sport of cricket stands for a lot more than just a win or loss.