KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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MCC fast-bowler Hamid Hassan took match-winning figures of 10-85 as Afghanistan hammered Canada by 9 wickets in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.
Hassan, a former MCC Young Cricketer (YC), took 7-61 in the first innings of the four day match in King City, Ontario as Canada were forced to follow on after being bowled out for 130.
Ex-skipper Mohammad Nabi, another former YC, took 3-6 in the same innings with his off spin and finished with match figures of 4-60.
Hassan, who has now taken 61 first-class wickets at just 20.09 from ten matches, has played regularly for MCC since spending time as a YC in 2006.
The 24-year-old took seven wickets in this year’s season curtain opener in against the county champions Nottinghamshire in Abu Dhabi as MCC won the match by 174 runs. Nabi also played in the victory.
Hassan, whose strong skiddy action propels the ball with genuine pace, then followed up the match with remarkable figures of 5-17 – including a hat trick – as MCC lost to Notts in the Emirates Airline Twenty20.
Fairytale from Kabul
Afghan cricket has produced a remarkable fairytale story for the war affected country since the side was formed back in 2006.
That side – including Hassan and Nabi – beat a strong MCC team in Mumbai in March of 2006, enticing the Lord’s based Club to recruit the Afghan duo, who both impressed during the game.
Hassan, who has become one of the most recognisable figures in his country, then became the first Afghan to play at Lord’s when he played for MCC against a Europe XI in 2007.
He has gone on to establish a reputation as one of the finest players outside of the Test countries.
MCC in Afghanistan
MCC’s influence in Afghanistan has gone beyond their involvement with the careers of Hassan and Nabi.
The Club has worked with the charity Afghan Connection since 2007 to help organise coaching camps for school age boys and girls in the country.
Former England all-rounder and MCC Committee Member Matthew Fleming has driven the Club’s role in the country since leading the original ‘fact-finding’ mission to Afghanistan four years ago.
Since entering the international scene, Afghanistan have made a meteoric rise through the ICC’s non-Test playing structure.
They narrowly missed out on qualification for the ICC World Cup in 2011 but made it to the ICC Twenty20 in the Caribbean in 2010.
They won the Intercontinental Cup last year, beating Scotland in the final and will defend their title between now and 2013.
Afghanistan collected the maximum of 20 points for their win over Canada, making them the early pace setters in the current competition.