June 18, 2019 / 12:55 PM / a year ago

Cricket: Afghan president drops in to cheer on side versus England

Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup - England v Afghanistan - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - June 18, 2019 President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani during the match Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani dropped in at Old Trafford on Tuesday to watch his side take on hosts and pre-tournament favourites England in a Cricket World Cup group stage match.

Ghani, in suit and tie, could be seen waving to the crowd from high in the stands, surrounded by other guests.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board tweeted photographs of him together with Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Azizullah Fazli.

Afghanistan have looked largely at sea in the tournament so far but are still hoping to pull off an upset, skipper Gulbadin Naib said ahead of the match.

The Afghans made their World Cup debut in 2015, when they notched up one win against Scotland. But they are without a victory after four matches in their second appearance.

The rise of Afghan cricket has been a remarkable by-product of decades of turmoil that forced millions into refugee camps across the border in Pakistan, where young men uprooted from home began to learn the sport.

It has been a rare source of pride and unity in a nation split by bitter political divisions.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Manchester; Writing by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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