Remember the Aamir Khan starrer blockbuster ‘Lagaan’? Though it wasn’t based on a true story, it seems to have inspired one in Afghanistan. Unfortunately for the British, they were on the losing side of this one as well.
In a match organized between the two armies, the Britishers were heavy favorites and were expected to win comfortably. It was going according to plan for their captain Lt. Tim Law as they were set a modest total of 166. Against all odds, as ‘Bhuvan’ in Lagaan, the Afghan captain Sgt Maj Udin led his side to an impressive victory and the British were bundled out for an embarrassing 75.
After the match, many thousands of jubilant locals ran across the pitch and were looking to release their pent up aggression. The situation could have become much worse for the already humiliated British army as they made a beeline to the safety of their tanks parked nearby.
The British army captain was philosophical after the defeat when I asked him why his team has a habit of losing to underdogs. “As sport is a great leveller I hope this game could be the start of a long association with Afghan Army cricket.” he said. A nice thought, but it didn’t answer my question. Sgt Udin was jubilant after the match and said “The British have supported us on every other aspect so thank you for supporting us in sport”. He then invited me to a great feast organized by him later to celebrate their victory and promised that Afghanistan’s finest camel curry and naan bread will be served.