Buskashi is an Afghani game, akin to polo, that involves riding, sticks and the carcass of a goat. The carcass is soaked in cold water for twenty-four hours, so that it does not disintegrate, and then a large pack of horsemen compete to win the boz (renamed carcass) and the horsemen (chopendoz) compete to grab the carcass and throw it in a circle (the hallal).
This Afghani sport will not win any votes from animal lovers, but their fierce competitiveness has now blooded another arena: cricket. Refugees in Pakistan whiled away the long hours by learning to love cricket and have now brought the sport back to Afghanistan. Each province has a team and there are strong competitions to determine the best teams.
We know that the best team is not the Royal Marines, who emulated our Ashes tour:
ENGLAND’S cricket shame plunged new depths after a team of Royal Marines were hammered – by the Afghan National Army.
The crack soldiers crashed to a resounding eight wicket defeat after being bowled out for just 56 in 14 overs without one playing reaching double figures.
Afghans have only been playing the game since about 1992 but that did not stop the novice opponents knocking off the runs inside 12 overs
Are we seeing the birth of a new Test playing nation? I can think of no greater accolade to symbolise the departure of a country from misery and despair. We should be glad that the military skills of the Royal Marines far outweigh their cricketing skills.