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Australian Prime Minister hopes Afghanistan to be in Cricket World Cup 2015

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News 31 Jul 2013, 19:34 IST
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Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Wednesday, 31 July, Kabul, Afghanistan: Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, speaking at the launch of the Cricket World Cup 2015 in Melbourne, Australia, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying he hoped the Afghanistan cricket team would feature in the tournament to be held jointly in Australia and New Zealand.

He had just returned from a surprise visit to Australian troops in Afghanistan and whilst there obviously saw some Afghan children playing cricket. Cricket, he said, can have an uplifting effect.

“When I see the young kids of Afghanistan taking up a bat and ball in the middle of nowhere and the difficulties which that country we all know experiences, it actually causes your heart to beat a little faster and think ‘actually there’s some good stuff going on here.’ ”

Dr Noor Mohammad Murad, CEO of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, said in response to the Prime Minister’s comments: “We were very please to hear Mr Rudd’s comments because he expressed the same hope that is in the hearts of millions of people in our country and we believe we have a good chance of qualifying.”

“Cricket is having a huge impact in Afghanistan, it is ‘uplifting’ our people and giving them something to be happy about and celebrate despite the difficulties that exist here. For Afghanistan cricket is more than a game: It is contributing to peace, unity and development in Afghanistan in a way that little else ever has. The game is tremendously popular not only in the cities but even amongst Afghan kids, as Mr Rudd said, ‘in the middle of nowhere.’

Many young Afghans might not be able to point to Australia on a map of the world, but they can name many of Australia’s cricketing heroes. They are also icons for many of our national players.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has been working to develop closer ties with major cricketing countries including Pakistan and India. Pakistan Cricket Board has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Afghanistan Cricket Board to provide various types of support for the development of Afghan cricket.

“Prime Minister Rudd was moved by the sight of Afghan children playing cricket,” Dr Murad said, “perhaps this might motivate him to encourage his government and Cricket Australia to help us in our cricketing journey. Australia could help us to work towards ensuring that every child in Afghanistan can ‘take up and bat and ball’ and enjoy the game that both Australians and Afghans love.”

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