Times of India – BENGALURU: More than two decades ago, cricket was a welcome break for Afghan refugees in camps in Pakistan.


  • Cricket and conflict thus came together as an unlikely mix.Afghanistan’s fairytale journey from gully cricketers to international stars may have begun in 2009, but they will receive their baptism in the traditional format of the game on Thursday.
  • They will become the 12th Test playing nation in the world when they square off against India in the one-off Test.
  • In fact, their skipper Asghar Stanikzai , when asked if his team was nervous on the eve of the match, replied, “I’m hearing (the word) for the first time.
  • In contrast, someone like young pacer Navdeep Saini, a last-minute replacement for Mohammed Shami in the Ajinkya Rahane-led home team, has 31 first-class games to his credit.
  • Stanikzai’s side could find out that it is foolhardy to bank on performances in the IPL in the longest format of the game, or they could just prove purists very wrong.

Read more…