Asghar Stanikzai-led Afghanistan side has shown a remarkable promise in cricket and is optimistic to earn the Test status, in order to make their country proud which has been torn by war in the recent past.
The Chairman of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Atif Mashal, who watched the high-octane 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final played between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, at The Oval, revealed the board is working hard to improve the quality of cricket back home in a bid to lead into the development while admitted they are hopeful for earning the coveted association in the longer format.
“We are optimistic. We’ve completed all the criteria and already submitted our application,” Mashal was quoted by Times of India.
It’s pertinent to note, the International Cricket Council is scheduled to meet on Monday (June 19), in an annual meeting in London which would also decide the fate of Afghanistan and Ireland respectively.
Following the improvement, the two fresh teams are aiming to caught the eye of the world cricket governing body ICC which would allow them to play the quality teams in Test cricket which has been suggested as a ‘two-tier’ Test cricket and one of the side would top the group which will face the top-notch team in the tier one.
Having produced the quality leg-spinner in the form of Rashid Khan, who has been a revelation in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), Afghanistan has availed the services of all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who was also the part of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“Afghanistan deserves Test status because their performances are good,” former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif asserted.
Before leveling the recently concluded three-match One-day International series 1-1 against Windies, Afghanistan has registered win in the Intercontinental Cup against Ireland, which has further boosted the morale of the side.
As Ireland and Afghanistan are eyeing to become the latest Test nations, Bangladesh had already gained the Test status on June 26, 2000.
Afghanistan Head Coach Lalchand Rajput, who was the former Indian batsman, revealed it would a challenge to leave an early impact, but he feels the entrant would be boosted following the nomination.
“It’ll be a great thing for Afghanistan cricket and their war-torn country. This will bring a lot of joy and happiness to the people there. The players will be looking forward to this. It’ll be a challenge for them to make a mark at the Test level,” said Rajput said.
The Mumbai-born Rajput has shown satisfaction over the performance of his wards by adding the 63-run win at St Lucia against Windies which has further lifted the spirit of the team.
“West Indies is one of the best teams in the shorter format of the game, and it’s a Test-playing nation. Beating them in the first game gave us a lot of self-belief that we belong at this level,” concluded the 55-year-old Rajput.
Interestingly, Afghanistan is scheduled to play their historic match (one-dayer) on July 11 against Brendon McCullum-led Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which includes the stalwarts of cricket in the form of Kumar Sangakkara followed by Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan from Pakistan.