Truth be told, one doesn’t quite know what to call it, how to address this kind of news. Is this a strictly cricket-only or cricket-relevant news, or is this a geopolitical sort of narrative. That being said, just to be clear, fact is that the Taliban, currently in control of Afghanistan, much to the chagrin of not just the vanquished country but the entire world, has offered support to the cricket team in the nation.
That being said, it’s really a piece of shocker! To a country where one’s hardly finding time to reflect on anything other than sad developments and heartbreaking scenes, one doesn’t quite know what to make of this sort of development.
Is the Taliban ever serious about cricket? Does it follow cricket? Does it even occur to what’s clearly a terror outfit that there are other things one can wield other than a rifle and machine gun or hand grenade, such as a cricket bat?
Moreover, does it even know the extent to which the talents of Afghanistan Cricket team, national heroes in the country and widely regarded in the world, were stressed to the point of mental breakdown and embitterment beyond explanation, when they realised that the nation they had hitherto so proudly represented would now be led by a terror outfit?
An outfit, which the rest of the world hates and rightly so for the suppression and subjugation of human rights among other things.
And yet, amid this narrative to hear from the Taliban itself that cricket, the most followed and widely played sport in the war-torn country will be finding full support from it is most shocking and absurd in equal measure.
Here’s a case in point.
A few days back, with the retreat of the western forces in the embittered central Asian nation complete, the likes of Rashid Khan, the country’s superstar along with the likes of Mohammad Nabi, were extremely worried about the fate of their families, back home in Afghanstan whilst they were occupied in The Hundred.
And now, amid fears that what might happen to the fate of the sport that unifies the country like few other spectacles, what one is reading right now is a bit of a shocker, truth be told.
The following are the inputs from the India Today group on a piece of news that’s a shocker, beyond anything else:
The Taliban say Afghans started playing cricket when they ruled previously and that they will support the sport going forward. Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban’s political office and negotiating team, made the remarks during a meeting with members of the national cricket team.
The meeting was attended by national cricket team captain Hashmatullah Shahidi, former cricket board selection committee chairman Asadullah and Noor Ali Zadran.
During the meeting, Haqqani reassured the cricket sector and pledged to assess cricketers’ problems immediately.
During the meeting, the players thanked Anas Haqqani and his delegation and expressed their hope for support from the Taliban.
This comes a few days after another member of the Taliban’s political team, Sohail Shaheen, also expressed support for the cricket team and said he hoped to watch the planned Afghanistan-Pakistan matches.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are scheduled to play 3 ODIs from September 1 to 5 in Sri Lanka.