Capital’s Afghan residents bask in T20 World Cup success

- June 27, 2024
| By : Yusra Nazim |

Although Afghanistan lost their semi-final on Thursday, their maiden entry into the last four stage of T20 World Cup brought smiles to residents of the Afghan colony in Lajpat Nagar

Afghanistan’s entry in the semifinals of the T20 World Cup — their first in a major international cricket event — has sparked celebrations in the country as well as in pockets of Afghan refugee community in other places.

It is no wonder then that the Afghan colony in Capital’s Lajpat Nagar was also in a celebratory mood.

Faizan Bari who works at the Nooshe Joon restaurant said, “Though I am busy, I try to watch each and every match. I am a huge fan of cricket and the Afghan team, especially skipper Rashid Khan. I sometimes dream of becoming like him. Whenever Afghanistan wins a match, my cousins and family members from Afghanistan make videos of the celebrations and share them with me. I was so happy today; it feels like a personal victory. I really wish that our team wins the World Cup, Inshallah. We are all praying for them. They are our heroes.”

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His co-worker Ahmed added, “We are all enjoying this moment. My friends and I will meet and have a little party, as the treat is on me. I really think this will change the image of Afghanistan, and we can hope for positive things happening after this. I am a fan of both India and the Afghan teams, but this time I really wish the Afghan team wins, as the boys are giving their 1000% even after facing so many hurdles.”

At the Kabul Delhi Restaurant, the owners’ smiles alone could tell you that they are in celebration mode. They fondly share photos of Afghanistan cricket team players visiting their place.

Hashmat Peerzada, co-owner of the restaurant, told Patriot, “Many players came to visit our place — Hamid Hassan, Fareed Ahmad, Gulbadin Naib, among others. They love our food and hospitality and visit here for the same. It’s an honour for us to welcome them.”

About the June 25 match against Bangladesh that sealed their place in the semifinals, he added, “We are extremely proud and happy after the victory. The Afghanistan team is doing great and will continue to do so. It’s a time for celebration for all of us.”

On the streets of Lajpat Nagar, a woman was talking to her children about the match.

“Our whole family watched the match, and we all didn’t move from the screen even once because the match was so tense. Allah helped Rashid and Gulbadin and the whole team, of course. It was a happy moment for all of us, and in our country, everyone is enjoying today,” she told Patriot.

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However, not everyone shared the enthusiasm.

Naved Khan, who sells Afghan bread in a little corner, said he hasn’t been keeping track of the Afghanistan team at the T20 World Cup since he lives in India now.

“I don’t know much about cricket now. Back then, when I was a teenager, I used to play and watch cricket. I was a fan of Dawlat Ahmadzai, but now we are away from Kabul, so if I watch cricket someday, I love to watch MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma. I don’t know much about the Afghanistan team,” said Naved.

Afghanistan, who have played many of their home games in the past in India, including Greater Noida, have impressed in this World Cup, beating top teams like New Zealand (in league phase) and Australia (Super 8) before sealing the semifinal spot in the last Super 8 game against Bangladesh, a Test nation.

“The country is very proud. Reaching the semi-finals is significant, and we need to approach it with a clear mind. We’ll keep things simple and enjoy the moment,” skipper Rashid said after the match.

Afghanistan, however, lost their semi-final to South Africa by nine wickets on Thursday.