Shafiq Asmat Stanikzai – Chief executive officer of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), on Tuesday, said that they are aiming to become a competitive Test side in the next three years.
In June 2017, Afghanistan and Ireland gained full ICC Test membership by ICC, and now they are preparing for their first appearance in the longest format of the game, as Ireland set to make their Test debut against Pakistan at Malahide in May, while Afghan against India in Bengaluru from June 14-18.
It is known that Afghanistan is famous for their exploits in limited-overs internationals and their world-class performers Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi is playing in various Twenty20 leagues across the world.
Afghanistan is now aiming to become a competitive side in the Test cricket, as Afghanistan officials have full confidence on their coming raw talent through whom they can become a competitive member of the international Test family.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Stanikzai said, “We have a lot of good junior players emerging in our country. It is raw talent which needs polish and exposure. We aim to become a competitive Test side in the next three years.”
The ACB official further said, “We have won the ICC Intercontinental Cup twice, and were runners-up once. We have a functional first-class system back home and a pool of 170 full-time players. Facing India in our first Test will be a mighty challenge, but we are confident of providing them good preparation for the tour of England on which they will embark on soon afterwards.”
Afghanistan has been playing their homes matches in UAE and Greater Noida, India, as they has not been able to play at home for security reasons, and ACB chief executive said that it is a major setback for the Afghan cricket.
Stanikzai signed off by saying, “Not playing at home is a major setback for us. We are not able to showcase the Afghan flavour of cricket. We have hosted some matches in the UAE, but it suits us more to have the games in India as it costs less and the conditions are to our liking. Always playing away is a challenge. However, all our senior players participate in our domestic competitions, which allow the local fans to watch their heroes in action and also inspire the upcoming cricketers.”