Afghanistan fans miss celebrating Eid with family to watch historic Test
A handful of Afghan fans, mostly students, were at hand to witness their team make its Test debut against India in Bangalore on Thursday. Waving their flags, this bunch had come all the way from Hyderabad ensuring their team doesn’t feel left out.
Even though it was far from a dream debut for his team, Hazrat Umar Shenwari said he is proud of watching his national team live. A cricket buff himself he was here with five friends who bought match tickets and planned the journey well in advance. In fact, they had all gone back to Afghanistan to celebrate Eid but rushed back early for the match. “We came early because we didn’t wish to miss this match. So we are missing celebrating Eid with our families,” he said. Cricket has grown in popularity in Afghanistan and is now competing or is ahead of even football with both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also having die hard fan following.
“If we see the field of cricket, then the most popular player is Virat Kohli; but if we see the field of football, the most popular players are Messi and Ronaldo. But because cricket is more popular than football, clearly Kohli is more popular than Messi or Ronaldo. We love our cricketers as well. I’m proud of watching my team today,” he said.
Shenwari, who is from Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, said the sport is the best way to bring peace to his country.
“There is a great deal of love for cricket in our country. When we didn’t have our team, we supported other teams and were happy or upset when they won or lost. Cricket is the only sport which is supported by both our government and the people who are against the government,” he said.
As far as popularity of a cricketer is concerned he said it’s a tossup between Virat Kohli and Rashid Khan.
“A player of one’s own country is popular. But overall in world cricket, we are fans of Kohli, and I also love Kohli,” he said.