Karzai, Clinton want to emulate the success of Afghan cricket

Updated: May 11, 2010, 22:56 PM IST

Washington: Impressed by the Afghan cricket team`s T-20 World Cup debut, President Hamid Karzai and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today sought to seek lesson from the players who achieved the feat despite living in a turbulent country.

The leaders appreciated the phenomenal success of the team, which against all odds entered the T-20 World Cup.

"If we are searching for a model of how to meet tough international challenges with skill, dedication and teamwork, we need only look to the Afghan national cricket team" Clinton said in her opening remarks of the US-Afghanistan Bilateral Dialogue that kicked off at the Foggy
Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

Karzai, is leading a high-level delegation from his country at the invitation of the US President, Barack Obama, to hold intensive talks on issues between the two countries.

Karzai, who arrived here Monday, would meet Obama on Wednesday.

"For those of you who don`t follow cricket, which is most of the Americans, suffice it to say that Afghanistan did not even have a cricket team a decade ago.

And last month, the team made it to the World Twenty20 championships featuring the best teams in the world," Clinton said praising the success of the Afghan cricket team.

Notably, the Afghan Cricket team handsomely defeated the United States to qualify for the T-20 World Championship.

"Well, today, we have our own top teams from the Afghan and US governments," Clinton said referring to the 20 members from each delegations besides the two leaders.

Karzai was quick to respond in his own T-20 style as he acknowledged that success of the Afghan cricket team would not have been achieved but for the contribution of the United States and the international community.

Games like cricket were banned during the previous Taliban regime.

"Madame Secretary, the United States has been with Afghanistan for the past eight years, through a very important part of our history where we began to reconstruct our country, and where the United States and our other allies helped us in all walks of life," Karzai said.

"The consequence of that for us, the Afghan people, has been one of tremendous achievements of our team in cricket being one," Karzai boasted.