Afghanistan's first-ever one-day international against Pakistan achieved what no other sport had managed -- support from the once cricket-hating Taliban, an official said on Saturday.
Misbah-ul-Haq with the trophy in Sharjah on Friday. Pic/AFP
"Friday's match was a big milestone for Afghanistan, so much so that the Taliban sent a message of support, saying they are praying for the success of the team," Omar Zakhilwal, president of Afghanistan Cricket Board told reporters.
Although Afghanistan lost by seven wickets in the first-ever one-dayer against Pakistan on Friday, they gave a good account of themselves, scoring 195 and then capturing three early wickets before succumbing.
"Even president Karzai was watching the match and wished the team well. Across the country 80-90 percent of the kids were watching the game as this was a big occasion," said Zakhilwal.
Zakhilwal said no other thing unites Afghanistan like cricket. "On streets you can see kids playing, there is no other sport which mobilises the people, neither politics nor any other event, neither the reconstruction, there is nothing which can match cricket.