Last updated: 22 june, 2010 - 16:07 GMT

Afghan cricket glory

Taj Malik

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Taj Malik is known as the founder of Afghan cricket.

As a young boy he dreamed of starting a cricket team in his home country - but there were a lot of obstacles in his way.

For a start, he was living in exile in a refugee camp in Pakistan, and his country was occupied by the Soviet Union.

When the occupiers left, civil war broke out and then the Taliban government banned all forms of sport.

So Taj contented himself with building up a club cricket side in the camps.

Returning to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, he began to make his cricketing dream a reality.

He persuaded a reluctant government to give him the chance to set up a national cricket team.

Despite rudimentary training facilities and a lack of public support, the team set off on a journey that would take them from Jersey to Tanzania, Argentina and South Africa as they tried to qualify for the cricket World Cup.

Surprising many of their opponents, they climbed 93 places up the cricket rankings and achieved one day international status.

And in April this year they played high profile games against India and South Africa during the Twenty-20 World Cup, and returned home national heroes.

Their dramatic story is told in a new film called Out of the Ashes which has just been shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in the UK.

When Taj Malik came into the Outlook studio, he told Matthew Bannister how he first became hooked on cricket as a young boy in a refugee camp in Pakistan.

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