Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pakistan, Afghanistan set for historic one-dayer

Pakistan and Afghanistan have a history of first one day international between the two countries here on Friday with the two captains promising to make the game memorable. "It's a very important game for both countries and we will try to make the occasion memorable with a bit of quality cricket," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said.
"It is important for countries like Afghanistan to play a top team that will help them improve and we will play our full strength team as they have some good players."
Game Friday in Sharjah Stadium - which holds the world record for most international stage one day with 201 - it's just because most of the Afghan players learned the game in Pakistan, while staying as refugees after the Soviet invasion of his country in 1979.
Afghanistan captain Nawroz Mangal thanked Pakistan to give them chances. "We thank Pakistan for allowing us to play this one day and also giving us the opportunity to play in their national competitions have raised our confidence," said Mangal, who has led Afghanistan a day status.
"It's a story to match against a top team like Pakistan and we will try our best to put a good fight in a competition that is a big challenge for us," Mangal said the 27-year-old, a spin-off bowler.
Mangal said his team had prepared well for the Pakistan spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Rehman who were behind the destruction of England 3-0 in their series of three-Test: Ajmal ended with 24 wickets while Rehman took 19.
"We have prepared well for Pakistan spin duo and I am confident of my scouts will do their best," Mangal said, adding that paceman Hamid Hassan, who has 24 wickets in 14 one-day international will miss the game through injury in the knee.
They still have Mohammad Nabi, an off-spinner, who took five wickets while playing in a combined ICC XI against England last month and wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad who scored 51 and 74 in the same game.
Pakistan will continue to be boosted by the return of allrounder Shahid Afridi will add variety to the attack team's rotation. Mangal expecting a sell-out crowd of 15,000 exiles in much of Afghanistan and Pakistan, taking advantage of the weekly holiday here, will show their support.
"We want the audience to share this historic moment, with both teams," said Mangal.
War-ravaged Afghanistan gained a remarkable standing on the stage of World Cricket, finishing fifth in qualifying for the World Cup 2011 which earned them the right to play one day international.
They also won the right to play the third edition of the World Twenty20, held in the Caribbean in 2010, winning the qualifying tournament and then finished with a silver medal at the Asian Games in China in November of that year.
Afghanistan, one of 59 associate members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), are also the holders of the Inter-Continental Cup meant to the nations Associates.
The ICC, which contributes approximately $ 700,000 per year to help the development of cricket in Afghanistan, has shown great pleasure in their progress, terming it as "a success story in cricket."

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