The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy, as part of its global tour, on Saturday visited Kabul, Afghanistan, where it was received by President Mr Hamid Karzai.
Also present with the trophy during this historic visit to the President’s office were Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi and star player, Nawroz Mangal, as well as other senior officials of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB).
The President congratulated the Afghanistan cricket team for qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and wished it well in the tournament that will be staged in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March.
Earlier in the morning, the trophy arrived in Kabul where it was warmly greeted by hundreds of fans and supporters. The trophy then made an appearance in a reception hosted by the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and Australian Embassy, which was also attended by ambassadors from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, as well as ministers and high ranking government officials, before visiting the President’s office.
Following his visit to the President’s office, Nabi said: “It is an honour that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy came to Afghanistan and received such a huge welcome. This is a proud moment for the entire nation and we will do our best to play competitive cricket in next year’s tournament.”
ACB Chief Executive, Dr Noor Mohammad Murad, who was also present when President Karzai put a hand on the trophy, said: “It was a historic moment for the country to host the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy for the first time.
“We have reached this point by overcoming lots of challenges. Our team is working hard to express itself at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and we are looking forward to some good results.”
ICC’s Head of Global Development, Tim Anderson, thanked the Afghanistan government for its continued support. “The Afghanistan government has provided tremendous support to cricket for many years and, therefore, the ICC is delighted that President Karzai was able to welcome the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy in Kabul.”
This was ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 trophy’s sixth stop-over since starting its journey began on 3 July. It is scheduled to arrive in the host countries in the first week of November.
The trophy has so far visited Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, Scotland and Ireland, while Pakistan is its next destination. The trophy will also visit South Africa, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and Barbados.
Afghanistan, which was playing in the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in 2008, qualified for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 after finishing runner-up to Ireland in the ICC World Cricket League Championship.
Afghanistan has been placed in Group A along with Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Sri Lanka. It will play its opening match against Bangladesh at Manuka Oval in Canberra on 18 February, before taking on Sri Lanka at University Oval in Dunedin on 22 February.
Its other first round matches in the tournament are against Scotland (in Dunedin on 26 February), Australia (in Perth on 4 March), New Zealand (in Nelson on 8 March) and England (in Sydney on 13 March).
Afghanistan today (Sunday) left for Perth to prepare for ICC’s pinnacle 50-over tournament. This tour is part of ICC’s High Performance Programme. During the tour, Afghanistan will play a series of matches against local and State sides, and will also be able to call on a number of specialist coaches and former players from both the host countries, to support its training and planning sessions.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is already in Australia, Scotland arrives in Hobart on 24 September while Ireland lands in Queensland on 23 September.