In a central Kabul street, the sound of children playing was once mostly the scuff of a soccer ball against concrete. Now, it is punctuated with the crack of a cricket bat.

From pickup games in dusty parks or narrow alleys to high-intensity training at well-kitted academies, young Afghans have cricket fever — a trend spiked by the surprise performance of the Afghan national team at the recent ODI World Cup.

"I'm crazy for cricket," said 19-year-old Shamsullah Mangal, who trains at a privately funded academy, having been inspired to take up the sport by national team player Rashid Khan.