x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

We are moving up - Rocky style

I think that I can really relate to the story where he started as a junior boxer and gradually worked his way up the ranks to fight against the champion.

There is a lot of attention ahead of our game against the USA today and it seems that everybody wants to talk to me about the match and how I feel about playing against them. I think that it is a great thing that cricket can bring people together and that players from Afghanistan and the USA can act as positive ambassadors for their countries and play each other in an international match.

I really enjoy the fact that cricket is a global game and allows you to travel all over the world. Through my own playing career I have already had the chance to travel to places I never dreamed of going to when I was growing up as a child. In the last two years I have been to places like Jersey, Tanzania, Argentina, South Africa and the UAE just to play cricket and on my travels it has been amazing to meet people from all walks of life who are from very different cultures.

One place I haven't been to is the USA and I would really like the Afghanistan team to have the chance to play cricket there one day. Although some people may think there may be extra importance for the players in taking on the USA, for us it is just another game. Most of the people I speak to at home are only interested in Afghanistan qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 so they want us to win all of our matches, not just today's game.

When I am travelling around the world I love to watch American television programmes - my favourites are American Idol and America's Got Talent. I also love to watch American movies and I have always had one film that I particularly liked. When I was younger I remember loving watching Rocky, because I really liked Sylvester Stallone. I think that I can really relate to the story as while he started as a junior boxer and gradually worked his way up the ranks to fight against the champion. We have achieved a similar thing by progressing our way through the World Cricket League and achieving ODI status.

I love running, exercising and doing sprints just like in the Rocky movies. During our training camp, we had to run up and down all the steps in the stadium in Kabul - it is a very big stadium and we were going up and down the stairs five times. It was just like being in the Rocky movie! It was very tough but it helps make us stronger and become better players. By having the chance to play the USA today in the qualifier it is just another step on our way to having the opportunity to play against the very best, just like Rocky wanted to fight the champion, and I hope for our supporters we can make it to the ICC World Twenty20 2010.

Hamid Hassan is a fast bowler for Afghanistan. Admission to the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers is free. Afghanistan play the USA at noon at Dubai Sports City. @Email:sports@thenational.ae