Afghan cricket team reaches Peshawar for training

PESHAWAR: The cricket team of Afghanistan has reached Peshawar on Thursday for a week-long training.

Afghan team will practice at the Arbab Niaz Stadium in connection with the preparation for the qualifying round of the World Cup.

Afghanistan cricket coach and former Pakistan Test bowler Kabir Khan told Geo News that that the Afghan team earlier had to go through training at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore but the Pakistan Cricket Board asked the team to remain in Peshawar.

The Afghanistan team, with their own country in turmoil since the ousting of the Taliban by a US-led invasion in 2001, is happy to train in Peshawar, but is taking precautions.

Afghanistan are warming up for next month''s International Cricket Council qualifying tournament in South Africa, where four teams can qualify for the 2011 World Cup.

Besides practicing, the Afghan team will also play a friendly match at the Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar.

The fact Afghanistan are still in training, with World Cup hopes alive, surprises Khan, because they''ve advanced from the lowest rung of qualifying. So far, they''ve moved through the division 5 event in Jersey, Division 4 in Tanzania and Division 3 in Argentina.

Afghanistan have been bracketed with Denmark, Bermuda, Kenya, the Netherlands and United Arab Emirates in Group B for the South Africa tournament. Group A comprises Ireland, Scotland, Oman, Uganda, Canada and Namibia.

The Afghanistan squad will wrap up its training camp March 17 and return to Kabul before flying to South Africa on March 20.

A warm-up match against Oman will precede the qualifying tournament.