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OUT OF THE ASHES by Tim Albone
Review by Mike Popham, CJA member
“Some years ago, while acting as The Times correspondent in Kabul, Tim Albone was asked to file a story for his newspaper on cricket in Afghanistan. It made a change from covering the violent conflict between the government, NATO and the Taleban. Subsequently, Albone – who had become hooked on the war-torn country – decided to make a documentary on the country’s inexperienced national team.Over the next two-and-a-half years, periodically embedded with the side, Tim Albone and his two colleagues Leslie Knott and Lucy Martens followed its unlikely progress as the players tried to realize the outrageous ambition of their charismatic but mercurial former coach Taj Malik by attempting to qualify for the 2011 World Cup.
This extraordinary quest took Tim Albone from a bare ‘pitch’ in Peshawar to Kabul, to Jersey, to Tanzania, to Argentina, and to South Africa where, agonizingly, the team just failed to qualify for the recent World Cup on the sub-continent. Along the way, Albone witnessed many cultural collisions both within the team and with its opponents and some of the people of the countries they visit, which he records with tolerance and humour.
Thanks to their enthusiasm and persistence, Afghanistan’s cricketers have now earned the respect of the cricket world with their desire to succeed despite all the odds.
The result; Afghanistan has now been granted One Day International status for 5 years and the team managed to qualify for the 2010 Twenty 20 World Cup in the Caribbean where they played in the same group as such giants of the game as India and South Africa. Unbelievable. See the film and read Tim Albone’s inspiring book to find out how they did it.”