Every blast in Afghanistan sends shivers down the spine of these cricketers | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Every blast in Afghanistan sends shivers down the spine of these cricketers

The trauma returns for three members of the Afghanistan disabled cricket team -- Abdullah Liwal, Shafiqullah Samim and Bashir -- everytime there is a blast back home.

cricket Updated: Jun 02, 2017 15:55 IST
Harit N Joshi
Abdullah Liwal, Shafiqullah Samim and Bashir were part of the 15-member Afghanistan disabled cricket team that recently played a T20 series against India in Greater Noida, near the Capital
Abdullah Liwal, Shafiqullah Samim and Bashir were part of the 15-member Afghanistan disabled cricket team that recently played a T20 series against India in Greater Noida, near the Capital(HIndustan Times)

Every time there is a blast in Afghanistan, it sends shivers down the spine of these three Afghanistan cricketers who represent the country’s disabled team.

Abdullah Liwal, Shafiqullah Samim and Bashir were part of the 15-member Afghanistan disabled cricket team that recently played a T20 series against India in Greater Noida, near the Capital. The hosts won 2-1.

(Read | Afghanistan cancels cricket series against Pakistan after Kabul terror attack)

Although far away from their battle-scarred homeland, they revisit the trauma of the day they fell victims to bomb blasts that left them disabled at a very young age every time a blast in reported in Afghanistan.

Around 80 people died and scores were left injured in a blast in Kabul’s diplomatic enclave on Wednesday.

Lucky cricket break

For the three cricketers, life would have ended in obscurity but for the Afghanistan Cricket Board conducting trials for disabled cricketers in 2011. It gave them a new lease of life.

Shafiqullah lost his left hand when he was five years old, after he was injured during the Russian occupation, which lasted from 1979 to 1989.

Abdullah Liwal’s leg had to be amputated below the knee after he was injured in a bomb blast. (HT Photo )

“After losing my hand, I thought what will I do now? Everything came crashing down. I was taking every breath, but I never felt like I was live,” Shafiqullah said, recalling the incident with the help of an interpreter.

(Read | Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad fails drugs test, will be suspended: ICC)

Announcement for cricket trials was just the right opportunity Shafiqullah could have expected.

“The opportunity was godsend. Cricket was always close to my heart but there was no avenue till then for the sport in our country. I was fortunate to get selected and I am now able to lead a respectful life by representing my country. I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said the all-rounder.

Team manager Abdul Manan Masood, who is also the national team’s physio, said there are around 20 players in the Afghanistan disabled cricket set-up at regional level who have been victims of bomb blasts and terror attacks.

Masood was a driving force in the forming of the disabled cricket team. “When we went to other countries we realised there are cricket competitions for disabled people as well.

That’s when we thought of calling for trials, and the response was overwhelming. The situation is such that there is enough competition among players to retain their spots, which is a healthy sign,” Masood said.

Shafiqullah and his two teammates — left-arm spinner Bashir and off-spinner Abdullah — want to be an inspiration for people who have given up on life due to any disability.

Bashir lost his right hand from wrist when he was barely eight following a bomb blast incident. Abdullah’s leg had to be amputated below the knee after he was injured in a bomb blast. “It is all about getting the right opportunity. We want to prove to the world that we are equal to fully able people,” said Shafiqullah.