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Afghanistan's exclusion from Asia Cup

A shame : Kabir

Afghaninstan's head coach, Kabir Khan, has expressed disappointment with the exclusion of his team from the Asia Cup, saying it is important for emerging teams to be given chances in major tournaments against top teams.


Afghanistan cricket coach Kabir Khan

"I think it's a shame. They should have given us that chance," said Khan.

The Afghan team started their rise to prominence on the international stage when they qualified for the World Twenty20 2010 in the West Indies. From there onwards, they went on to win the Inter-Continental Cup for associate countries, and came in second at the Asian Games in China. They won ODI status after coming in fifth during the World Cup 2011 qualifiers, and their first match against a top team was earlier this year in February, against Pakistan in UAE. While Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka were roped in for participation in the Asia Cup, Afghanistan, despite the fact that they belong to the region, were not included.

"The Asia Cup is an ODI tournament and we have ODI status," Khan stressed. "We have earned that position by winning tournaments and going up in the rankings. If you don't play against those top teams, how are we going to improve?"

Shahriar Khan, a media manager from the Asian Cricket Council clarified that the exclusion owed entirely to the fact that the Afghan team had received their ODI status after the contracts for the series had already been drawn, and schedules had been finalized.Despite the snub, the fghan team remained upbeat, and expressed confidence in their ability to make it through the ongoing ICC World T20 Qualifiers, and secure a spot in the final tournament this September in Sri Lanka.

"We are unbeaten," wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad said to The Associated Press. "We have played well against every team and reached the semifinals. It doesn't matter who comes to the semifinals. We will beat them."

Afghanistan has won all seven matches they have played, and are currently at the top of the Group A table, with 14 points.

They will be facing off against Namibia in a preliminary final on March 22 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. BETTOR

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