Never before has the Indian Premier League attracted as much attention as it has this year in Afghanistan.
Cricket Fever Hits Afghanistan Thanks To Rashid And Nabi
This year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) has hundreds of thousands of Afghans glued to their TV screens, every time Sunrisers Hyderbad play – and it’s all because of the country’s two exports, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, who play for the ‘Orange Army’.
On the nights Sunrisers play, countless businesses across Kabul simply close their doors until the match is over.
From bread shops, to barbers and travel agencies, doors close when the match begins and staff can often be seen gathered around their TVs taking in every moment of the game.
Never before has the IPL attracted as much attention as it has this year in Afghanistan.
“India is very good in cricket but when our cricket players are bought by IPL teams and play in IPL it is a moment of great pride for us,” said one Kabul shop owner.
Another said: “I feel really very happy when I am watching them play in IPL and I am very proud of them.”
Kabul residents said that their love and pride for national cricket players makes them tune in to all cricket matches, IPL included.
“Selecting our players for IPL is a huge honor for us,” said another Kabul business owner.
“When we watch them play, in international matches, we really feel joy and are happy,” said another.
Rashid Khan Arman and Mohammad Nabi Eisakhil are Afghanistan’s first two cricketers to be snapped up by the IPL. Nabi made his debut this week, while Rashid has shone throughout the tournament.
Nabi was bought on auction for three million Indian Rupees ($46,000 USD) while Rashid Khan was sold for 40 million Indian Rupees ($600,000).
Sunrisers has three wins from five outings, while Delhi Daredevils have two wins and as many defeats.
In their most recent outing, SRH held their nerve to defeat Kings XI Punjab in a thriller on Monday night. The match affirmed the notion that SRH have the best well-rounded bowling attack; Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the ball to swerve, collected five wickets and extended his lead at the top of this season’s wicket-taker’s list, while Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi proved they were extremely shrewd operators with the ball.
Sunrisers are the most successful bowling side this season; they have taken 39 wickets in their five matches.
Sunrisers are scheduled to play Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday night. Tune in to watch the match live on Lemar TV at 7pm.