Currently a total of 105 countries are members of the ICC of which 10 are the Test-playing nations and hence called the Full Members. The remaining 95 are Associate and Affiliate nations. 36 of these are Associate members and 59 are Affiliate countries.
Six nations apart from the top 10 Test-playing countries, are allowed to play ODIs and T20Is, based on their performance in the World Cup qualifiers. Currently, Afghanistan, Scotland, Netherlands, Ireland, Kenya and Canada are the six non-Full Members, ODI-playing sides in the world.
Those countries “where cricket is firmly established and organised but do not qualify for Full Membership”, are often referred to as Associates. These are cricketing countries who are affiliated with the ICC but do not play Test match cricket.
The Associates and Affiliates play the Inter-Continental Cup, the World Cup qualifiers and the World T20 qualifiers, apart from some of the other cricket tournaments.
Afghanistan's proximity to the test playing nation of Pakistan has helped the game to take root. In the 1990s, cricket became popular amongst Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and the Afghanistan Cricket Federation was formed there in 1995. They continued to play cricket on their return to their home country in late 2001. Like all sports, cricket was originally banned by the Taliban, but it became an exception in 2000 and the Afghanistan Cricket Federation was elected as an affiliate member of the ICC the following year.
The national team was formed in 2001, which played in the 2009 World Cup Qualifier after rising rapidly through theWorld Cricket League, starting in Division Five in May 2008. The team failed to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, but did earn ODI status until 2013. In February 2010, the Afghan cricket team secured qualification to the 2010ICC World Twenty20
, the team's first major tournament. In the same year they won their first Intercontinental Cup, beating Scotland in the final.
They began their qualifying campaign for the 2011 World Cup in Jersey in 2008, winning Division Five of the World Cricket League.They finished third in the ACC Trophy Elite tournament the same year, and won a second consecutive WCL tournament, Division Four in Tanzania later in the year.
Afghanistan played their first Twenty20 International
in 2010 against Ireland which they lost by 5 wickets. On 13 February 2010, Afghanistan first defeated the United Arab Emirates by 4 wickets to make their way to the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 to be in the West Indies in April 2010. Later the same day they defeated Ireland by 8 wickets in the Final of 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier and won the qualifier. In the World Cup, during their first match against India, opening batsman Noor Ali hit 50 runs, helping Afghanistan to a score of 115 in their 20 overs. Despite this they lost the match by 8 wickets.In their second match, the team were reduced to 14/6 at one stage, before a late rally from Mirwais Ashraf and Hamid Hassan helped Afghanistan post 88 all out, resulting in a loss by 59 runs.
They took part in the cricket tournament at the 2010 Asian Games in China and won the silver medal, losing to Bangladesh in the final.
In 2012, Afghanistan played a landmark One Day International
against Pakistan at the famous Sharjah Stadium in UAE, and even though the lost with a heavy margin, gave a fine display of their capabilities.
Some of their prominent players are Nowroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, Noor Ali Zadran and Hamid Hassan.