London 3rd July 2017: Afghanistan’s national cricket team will be fighting to win its first-ever match at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s in London, in a one-day match on Tuesday 11th July. Afghanistan will be playing against a star-studded team of international cricketers selected by M.C.C. (Marylebone Cricket Club), the world’s largest cricket-playing club and owner of Lord’s ground.
The M.C.C. team will be captained by Brendon McCullum, the former New Zealand captain. For the 50-over match, M.C.C. players will include two other former international captains, Kumar Sangakkara, of Sri Lanka, and Misbah ul-Haq of Pakistan. The Afghan team will include the highly respected all-rounder, Mohammad Nabi, and the 18-year-old prodigy, Rashid Khan.
The rise of the Afghan national cricket team has been phenomenal over recent years. Most notably, as the match at Lord’s approaches, Afghanistan has been confirmed as a full member of the elite group of ICC (International Cricket Council) Test Match nations.
The current President of M.C.C., Matthew Fleming, has had close connections with Afghan cricket, and is a very keen supporter of the game there. “I have visited Afghanistan and seen the enthusiasm and skill of so many players there, both of senior teams, and of boys and girls too,” he says.
M.C.C. has supported Afghan cricket since 2009. “MCC supports the game there by funding cricket pitches and helping with coaching, not least of children all around the country. We do this through working with Afghan Connection, a charity which had already become successfully involved with supporting Afghan cricket,” says Matthew Fleming.
“Afghans love cricket so much,” says Dr Sarah Fane, Founder and CEO of Afghan Connection. “But they hardly had any equipment. So Afghan Connection made a delivery to the National Team and began supporting grassroots cricket around the country for the young. Within a year M.C.C. began backing Afghan cricket through Afghan Connection’s projects. Since 2009 this has led to 100 cricket pitches being built, serving well over 100,000 Afghan children, as well as provision of equipment and coaching for them.”
Since 2002, Afghan Connection has funded nearly 50 school constructions in remote areas of north Afghanistan, serving about 75,000 boys and girls in almost equal numbers, along with training programmes for over 900 teachers. “Afghan kids love going to school. And cricket has become such a large part in the lives of so many,” says Dr Fane.
The M.C.C. v Afghanistan match on Tuesday 11th July will start at 11:00am, with gates opening at 9:30am. Tickets can be bought on the day at Lord’s or in advance via www.lords.org/afghanistan. Tickets may also be bought at Lord’s ticket office in advance or by telephone on 020 7432 1000.