No Halal, no problem: Afghanistan players turn chefs to overcome a ‘beefy’ issue!

PTI, Jun 21, 2024, 8:13 PM IST

Bridgetown (Barbados): For the Afghanistan cricketers, it was a meatball-sized problem to fork through! The non-availability of halal meat, a must-have in their menu, in their Bridgetown hotel forced them to temporarily wear a chef’s apron.

For the Afghans, who descended to this beautiful seaside town for their T20 World Cup Super Eights match against India, it was a different experience after tasting the overflowing Indian hospitality during last year’s 50-over showpiece.

Halal meat is available in the Caribbean, but it is not certain that all hotels and restaurants will have it on their menu.

“Halal meat is not available in our hotel. Sometimes we cook on our own or sometimes we go out. In the last World Cup in India, everything was perfect. Halal beef is an issue here. We had it in St. Lucia but it is not there at all venues. A friend arranged it for us and we cooked on our own,” a player told PTI.

India thumped Afghanistan by 47 runs at the Kensington Oval here on Thursday to make an ideal start to the Super 8 stage.

The scheduling of Super 8s is pretty intense with teams having to play three games in different countries with only one day for travel in between – a logistical nightmare in these islands with limited air connectivity.

Another member of the Afghanistan team said the nature of Super 8s schedule has also impacted the preparations.

“There is uncertainty over flights and training schedule. We are often informed about it at the last minute. We understand that the organisers are doing their best considering logistical challenges, which are bigger in the Caribbean than anywhere else,” he said.

Afghanistan next face Australia in St Vincent on Saturday.

Indian fans flock the Caribbean

The World Cup caravan has rolled from mainland America to the Caribbean but that has not diminished the support for the Indian team.

Though the Kensington Oval was half-empty for the India-Afghanistan clash, the majority of the people in the stands were wearing the blue jersey.

There were a couple of New Zealand and Pakistan fans though their teams had already bowed out of the tournament.

The proximity of the Caribbean to the USA and Canada have allowed the expat Indians to make the trip. Indians based in the UK have also taken the trans-Atlantic journey.

“I have come here from Toronto. There was no direct connectivity so I went to Miami and then came to Barbados. I have tickets for all India games, I just want one for the final here,” said Paresh.

The Caribbean locals too are involved in the frenzy. From the taxi driver to the front desk hotel manager, all are glued to the tournament and are backing the West Indies to win a record third title.

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