Afghanistan's cricket team during a training session. -File photo

KABUL: Afghanistan has received a financial boost from the world cricket governing body to develop the sport in the war-ravaged nation, it was announced on Thursday.

Cricket has become one of the most popular sports in Afghanistan since it was introduced by returning refugees, who learnt the game in the refugee camps of Pakistan after fleeing the 1979 Soviet invasion.

Afghanistan became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001 and in 2009 it attained one-day status. Its ambition now is to qualify for the 2015 World Cup.

The ICC decided this week to allocate $422,000 to develop the National Cricket Academy in Kabul, the Afghanistan Cricket Board announced Thursday.

Its chief executive Noor Mohammad Murad said the board has requested a total of $1 million in assistance.

“The ICC has approved $422,000 for now. They will send a delegation to visit Afghanistan’s Cricket Board in few weeks, and they will decide whether or not to approve the rest of the money,” Murad said.—AFP

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