On my television is the Afghanistan vs. England match from Old Trafford in Manchester. It’s a limited overs (50) match and England batted first, putting up 397 runs. That’s a formidable number to overtake but the Afghans are showing great pluck and determination. They probably won’t win, but they’re making a match of it. For a country known for grim, ugly, and nearly interminable wars, this genteel pursuit belies the stereotype we have of the “typical” Afghan.

Surprises are always welcome.