Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Minnows Afghanistan have caused two major upsets in the ongoing ICC ODI World Cup 2023 so far by beating defending champions England and formidable Pakistan.

Talent, proper training, fighting spirit and hard work have contributed to the remarkable rise of Afghanistan cricket. Moreover, there is also another crucial factor to Afghanistan cricket’s rise and that is India’s guiding hand.

India has supported Afghanistan cricket in many ways over the last few years. Some former Indian cricketers have provided coaching to the national team. India has also provided Afghanistan players Indian stadiums and facilities to train and play their home matches.

Now, the result is visible in Afghanistan cricket team’s performance in the ongoing mega event.

Though there has been many surprising upsets in the 48-year history of the World Cup, lower ranked Afghanistan defeating the defending champions is truly unprecedented. This win sets the stage for Afghanistan to aim high for other cricket milestones.

“It is one of the biggest upsets ever. I am really happy and overwhelmed by their victory. They have made history,” said Former India batsman Lalchand Rajput, who was Afghanistan’s coach from 2016 to 2018.

Several Afghanistan players have become familiar with Indian pitches, grounds, and conditions for many years now. Some of the top Afghan cricketers have gained invaluable experience by playing in various Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises.

Ravaged by conflict, Afghanistan has not been able to host international matches. However, India has become a home turf for them for almost eight years. Many Afghanistan players have played in places like Dehradun, Greater Noida, and Lucknow and they are cashing in the golden opportunity.

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