Courtesy of the Marylebone Cricket Club, I received in the mail a DVD of a new documentary film called “Afghan Cricket Club.” It tells the inspiring story of how the national team of Afghanistan rocketed from being the worst team in the world in 2007 to playing India (the best) last year in the World Twenty20 Championships. The film makes clear how improbable this journey up the rankings was: a country in crisis, few practice facilities, rubble or dry mud on the outfield of games, and severe culture shock for the players, who traveled to Jersey in the Channel Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and even Argentina, as they won game after game against tougher and tougher competitors.
Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about cricket. The film is more about the kind of characters that baseball fans will be familiar with: the rookie, the charismatic star, the earnest professional, the excitable coach, among others. It’s also a remarkable snapshot of daily life in Afghanistan and a testament to the power of cricket (which the Afghans learned in the Pakistani refugee camps they grew up in during the civil war in the early 1990s) to bring people of all backgrounds together. I assume the film will be released for some kind of rental at some point. Be sure to check back here for further details.