Afghanistan's rise from war to wickets has delighted the International Cricket Council (ICC) as it looks to far bigger markets — China and the United States.
Tim Anderson, the ICC global development manager, praised Afghanistan's extraordinary progress as they prepared for their first ever top-level ODI, against Pakistan.
Friday’s match here is fitting because Afghanistan’s cricketing roots lie in Pakistan, where refugees fleeing the 1979 Soviet invasion took up the sport in dusty camps near the countries' shared border.
“We are delighted with Afghanistan and they are a wonderful story for us to tell how you can overcome the challenges and work through the system,” Anderson said.
“They are making some great grounds in terms of infrastructure development in and around Kabul.”
This match comes 11 years after Afghanistan joined the ICC, and follows the country winning one-day status by finishing fifth in the World Cup 2011 qualifiers. They also qualified for the 2010 World T20.