Not just another fairytale, Afghanistan’s rise in world cricket has arguably been unparalleled. They only became full members of the International Cricket Council in 2017, and in 2024, the team booked its passage into the semi-finals of a World Cup (T20) for the first time. Often dubbed as minnows or underdogs in major events, Afghanistan produced some eye-opening performances this T20 World Cup, especially against New Zealand and Australia, to reach as far as the semi-finals. While a big chunk of credit goes to the players for stepping up their game and delivering when it mattered the most, India and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have also played a major role in their rise.

How India and BCCI helped Afghanistan scale new heights in world cricket:

Home Ground In India: The Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida first became the temporary “home ground” for Afghanistan in 2015, all thanks to the BCCI. Afghanistan shifted their base to Noida from Sharjah and even played international matches against Ireland in Greater Noida in 2017.

Greater Noida isn’t the only ‘home ground’ for Afghanistan, they had also “hosted” a Twenty20 series against Bangladesh in Dehradun.

Indian Coaches’ Guidance: By providing facilities, the BCCI gave Afghanistan the platform to excel. But, that wasn’t all. Former India players Lalchand Rajput, Manoj Prabhakar, and Ajay Jadeja have all coached the Afghanistan team in the past. In fact, Jadeja was their mentor as recently as the ODI World Cup 2023.

The BCCI, unarguably the most powerful cricket board in the world, had even invited then-Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani to watch the team play its first Test match in Bengaluru, taking a big step forward to strengthen the relations between the two nations and teams.

The Incredible Role Of IPL: The Indian Premier League has arguably been the biggest contributor to Afghanistan players’ success in the sport. Many Afghan players play in the T20 league, earning a handsome salary to help not just their own game but also inspire others in the country.

Over the years, the participation of Afghan players has increased drastically in the IPL and the number is only going to go up.

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