The Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour of Afghanistan came to an end today after three eventful days during which the trophy was displayed toured Kabul, Bamyan, Herat and Kandahar provinces.
The trophy arrived at Kabul International Airport on an early morning flight from Dubai on Wednesday 26th December where it was welcomed by Afghanistan Cricket Board officials and staff including Chairman Azizullah Fazli, national cricket teams’ players, Head of Senate Fazal Hadi Muslimyar and fans. Speaking to the media Mr. Fazli said: “It is an important day as the Cricket World Cup Trophy tours Afghanistan and I would like to thank ICC for agreeing to allow this. Over the next three days, the trophy will be take and displayed at various historic sites in Kabul, Bamyan, Herat and Kandahar”.
ACB Patron-in-Chief and President of Afghanistan His Excellency Mohammad Ashraf Ghani hosted ACB delegation and players along with the trophy at the presidential palace in the afternoon of the first day and said that the love of Afghan people for the game of cricket and Afghan players is undisputable and we are hopeful that one day Afghanistan will win the Cricket World Cup and the trophy brought to Afghanistan permanently.
During the first day, the trophy was also displayed at the historic Darul Aman palace which was built in early 20th century and used by former King of Afghanistan Ghazi Amanullah Khan. The day ended with a celebration event at the National Radio and Television Hall that was attended by ACB board members and top management; high-ranking government officials; civil society members; media representatives and fans.
The trophy was flown to central Bamyan province on the second day of the tour which is known for its historical sites including the Buddhas of Bamyan. The trip to Bamyan started with an event organised in partnership between Afghanistan Cricket Board and provincial government of Bamyan; it was attended by various stakeholders including ACB delegation, players, provincial government officials, school children and fans. Local artists performed at the event and key note speakers included ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazli, Governer of Bamyan Tahir Zohair and Captain Asghar Afghan. Mr. Zohair called cricket the game of gentlemen and promised to work for the development of the game of cricket in Bamyan. The trophy was displayed in front of Buddhas of Bamyan where a game of Buzkashi was organised to celebrate the Tour of the Trophy to Bamyan and Afghanistan.
Late on Thursday evening, ACB officials and players flew to western Herat province as part of the tour where a series of events were organised. The care-taker governor of Herat Mr. Muhiudin Noori welcomed the delegation at the Governor House in the morning and called it an honour for Herat province to host the Cricket World Cup Trophy. ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazli thanked the provincial government for their support and said: “As one of the ancient provinces in Afghanistan, Herat was chosen because of the historic sites and monuments that exist in the province province and we want to strengthen the participation of the youth in cricket in this province.” The trophy was later taken to the Great Mosque of Herat which is over 800-year old and Citadel of Herat which was built over 2000 years ago. In the afternoon, more than 2500 people poured into the Mawlana Jalaluddin Mohammad Balkhi Hall to see the trophy and also watch local artists and school children perform.
Late in the afternoon and as the last stop of the tour, the trophy was flow to the southern Kandahar province which has always been in the center many developments in Afghanistan. Photo shoots were organised outside the Tomb of the Founder of Afghanistan Ahmad Shah Durani and a holy site. Residents of Kandahar gathered at a hall in the governor house and welcomed the trophy to the province by beating drums and playing music.
Before departure for the UAE, ACB top management and staff came together to bid farewell to the trophy. Speaking at the gathering, CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai said: “The Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour of Afghanistan was an excellent opportunity to reflect the true image of Afghanistan and Afghans to the world”. He thanks national cricket team players who made qualification to the Cricket World Cup possible and staff who worked day and night over the years to make ACB a successful and transparent organisation.