Sri Lanka To Support Afghanistan Development

Sri Lanka play Afghanistan
Afghanistan recently played Afghanistan in the Asia Cup
©REUTERS / Action Images

Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) have been signed which will see Sri Lanka support the development of the game in Afghanistan.

Following a breakthrough Asia Cup tournament in Bangladesh, where Afghanistan participated for the first time, beating the hosts to finish fourth in the table, a delegation met with their Sri Lankan counterparts.

President Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Dr. Noor Muhammed Murad were hosted by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"If Sri Lanka can provide us good coaching to defeat all other countries but Sri Lanka..."

President Hamid Karzai jokes about his vision for closer ties between the two countries

"Afghanistan is keen to benefit from opportunities in Sri Lanka for our youth in terms of education and training," Karzai said, adding that Sri Lankan coaches were welcome to work with the Afghanistan national teams.

Captain Mohamad Nabi said that at this stage in Afghanistan's development, playing in major tournaments is part of a learning process.

 "We have not come here to win the Asia Cup," he said.

"We are here to perform and learn something from the Test-playing nations.

"We will work hard and learn."

Dr Noor added: "The agreement with Sri Lanka comes at just the right time for Afghanistan.

"Over this year we will be preparing for the World Cup 2015 and every bit of support is immensely important. 

"As Mohammad Nabi said, we are working hard to learn from the Test-playing nations. 

"Sri Lanka has a strong presence at the moment in the cricketing world and they can offer us really valuable support.

"We are strongly committed to raising our performance to their level," he added.

"Afghans have a dogged determination developed over years of hard times.

"It is this that has brought us so far, against all odds, in such a short time.

"It will carry us onward and upward over coming years."

Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup by winning all five of their matches, beating Pakistan by five wickets in the final.

© Cricket World 2014