War Brought Cricket to Afghanistan

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Thirty-nine years after the Soviet Union barged into Afghanistan, there’s now definitive proof that some good came out of the invasion. The Afghan cricket team plays top-ranked India on Thursday in its first-ever outing at the game’s elite Test Match level. That Afghans play cricket at all—and play it with skill and panache—is due entirely to the war that Moscow thrust upon them.

Bear with me as I set out the story. It’s Christmas Day 1979. The Soviets send troops and tanks into Afghanistan. A war ensues, seemingly without…

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