From restaurants to Ajay Jadeja, the Delhi-NCR connect of Afghanistan cricket team

- October 16, 2023
| By : Khurram Habib |

Afghanistan players felt at home while playing in Delhi as they got a taste of conditions and food

Ajay Jadeja speaks to ace Afghanistan spinner Mohammad Nabi

Opening batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who played an important innings of 80 to help Afghanistan set up a total which eventually proved enough to register a win, was asked which Afghan restaurant he prefers in Delhi.

Bhai (brother), there are lots of them in Delhi. Can’t say which one is the best,” responded Gurbaz on Sunday night, after his team thrashed England by 69 runs in a World Cup match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

But restaurants, located in pockets with Afghan refugees, aren’t the only Delhi-NCR connect for the Afghan cricketers.

Afghanistan made the Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida their home in 2015 prior to getting Test status before shifting base to Pakistan and UAE.

Ahead of the recent World Cup in India, the Afghanistan Cricket Board appointed former India captain and Delhiite Ajay Jadeja as mentor of the team.

With knowledge of the Ferozeshah Kotla ground, where he has played plenty of cricket including for Delhi, Jadeja has had an influence.

“I think he is one of those who always gives happiness to you. He makes cricket too easy for us. He always asks us to go enjoy. We love him. He is something special for us. He advises things which are very simple. That is the most important thing,” said Gurbaz after the match about Jadeja’s impact.

Prior to the game against India in Delhi on October 11, Afghan skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi had also spoken in favour of Jadeja.

“It is good because he has a lot of experience of international cricket and experience of the conditions here. As mentor, he always talks about how to deal with pressure, how to play against these teams,” said Shahidi.

“It’s not too much about technique, because he just came to the team and he can’t work with the techniques of batting, bowling. He just tries to give us talks about mental side and how to deal with this kind of team. So, yeah, it’s working well.”

That apart, there was far more support for Afghanistan than England, a top-tier Test nation, on Sunday.