ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is in progress. It is quite weird because only ten countries are qualified for the tournament. Given that cricket is not as popular as football and only a few countries play the games, it is weirder.
Cricket is a religion in India. Kids and adults are crazy about cricket. There are numerous academies and training camps for kids. In India, to play for the national team is not easy. You have to be extremely talented to be in the radar of these scouts and coaches.
What surprised me was the presence of Afghanistan in the world cup. They are relatively a very younger nation to play cricket. But they do have some world class talent in their team. People like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman or Mohammad Nabi are excellent players. That makes me think, how they become so good at their craft. Their country doesn't have many academies or training camps like India. Even the domestic cricket circuit might not be as robust as India or England. But how do they become good their craft? Yes, they take help from countries like India and Pakistan. Indian cricket board fund some of their efforts like getting practice in the Indian grounds.
My hunch is: these players are world class because of the coaching they get. Experienced and retired international cricketers are coaching Afghanistan team members. Some of the players also go around the world and play in many leagues, like IPL or Big Bash League. The deliberate practice loop gets stronger because of this. The play in leagues, they get coached, and they have fantastic support from their people — the secret sauce of learning and getting better at a craft.
I really get inspired by the teams like Afghanistan who show amazing spirit in their game. In fact, teams like Bangladesh, who were snubbed as minnows are as competent as Sri Lanka or Australia. Bangladesh is also a very good example of this deliberate practice and benefits of the feedback loop.