While there is no dearth of Sports movies from Hollywood and from the subcontinent, some of the recent ones that stand out were; The Blind side, Chak De India, and Invictus. These are all award winning, inspirational drama, based on real life stories.
Blind side is the story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family. In the movie Chak De India, It was Kabir Khan (Ranjan Negi in the real life) as the coach of National Women’s Hockey team, who turns the team around and helps it to win Gold in the Commonwealth Games. It was Nelson Mandela who enlist the national rugby team captain Francois Pienaar on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup, in the Oscar nominated movie Invictus.
While all these movies are about great individual efforts, and team play; about greater goal and strong will power; about vision talent and skills, against odds of tough and trying circumstances; nothing, nothing really compares with the tough and trying circumstances in Afghanistan! With one turf pitch and one bowling machine in the country, poor pay and not much facilities to speak of; the Afghan team’s fast ascent in the cricketing world and now the acceptance in the One day teams and qualifying for the ICC Twenty 20 World Cup, should deserve an Award in it’s own right. This goes on the lines of and beyond what Mandela and Francois did through sports towards unity in South Africa. There was at least a team in South Africa; here in Afganistan the game was completely banned under Taliban, not long ago.
I hope that the A team does well in the ICC Twenty20 world cup in the carribeans. I’ll keenly watch their ascent on the world stage as would Pashtuns, the Durrani tribal group, Ghilzai group,Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Qizilbash, and countless other tribes who will watch as one, and HOPE as one towards a new peaceful and sporting Afganistan. Young kids who will learn to hope and heal through sports, to believe that impossible was done before.
As the wonderful article on Afganistan’s Cricket team by Nitin Nair in 4 men magazine quotes: “There is no sports story quite like this ; it really is a fairy tale”