Friday, 29 January 2010

Cricket in the Empire

It's no secret that the reason cricket is so popular in places such as Australia, India and South Africa is because of the influence of the British Empire. In fact it's hard to think of a nation with test match status that hasn't had a British influence.

This looks set to continue into the modern day with Afghanistan becoming a real force on the cricket pitch. Only nine years ago the team consisted almost entirely of refugees and were struggling in the second tier of Pakistan's domestic league but now have full one-day international status and only missed out on a place in the 2011 World Cup by a narrow margin.

Arguably their biggest success to date came last Sunday when they beat the Irish (who are no pushovers themselves) by 7 wickets in a multi-day game. This will undoubtedly set them up nicely for next week's ICC World Twenty20 game qualifiers in the UAE.

I'm not sure if there is any political metaphor to make here but good luck to the Afghans. I believe it was Julius Nicholson in a Thick of It Special who said that 'cricket makes the troubles of the world seem so far away'.