Afghans begin new era against Aussies
Fast-rising Afghanistan will open another chapter in their remarkable story when they play their first one-day international against former world champions Australia today.
War-torn Afghanistan, who gained affiliate membership from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001, took a giant leap two years ago by finishing fifth in the World Cup qualifiers.
That earned them the right to play one-day internationals.
They built on their success by qualifying for the World Twenty20 in 2010 and again earned the right to play the same event in Sri Lanka next month.
Afghanistan are regarded as a success story in international cricket with most of their players learning the game while living in refugee camps on the border with Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979.
Afghanistan captain Nawroz Mangal admitted playing Australia is a big occasion for his team.
"Definitely, it's a big occasion for us and we want to make the best use of it," said Mangal.