Afghanistan are ready for Test cricket


According to Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Shafiq Stanikzai, the Asian nation are ready to make the step up to Test cricket sooner rather than later.

The ACB CEO has voiced his support for a two-tier Test cricket system that would likely see, Ireland and Afghanistan join the existing Test playing nations.

Stanikzai told ESPNcricinfo in a recent interview: “We think that we are ready to play Test cricket and we have proven that.

“Since we entered into the Intercontinental Cup arena, we were beaten only once. That was in the [2013] Intercontinental Cup final where we got beaten by Ireland but that’s the only loss we have in a four-day game or multi-day game.”

Afghanistan are second on the 2015-17 Intercontinental Cup table after four rounds behind Ireland after three wins and a rain hit draw with Scotland. The team have shown an excellent pedigree in the four-day competition and they are determined to show they can succeed in the game’s longest format.

Stanikzai continued: “We have a real good package for every single format of the game.

“If you have a look at the Afghanistan cricket team, we have almost a different squad for every single format. We have T20 specialists, we have ODI specialists, we have multi-day players, specialists not just in batting but in bowling as well. So we are carrying a different bunch of players in every single format we are playing.”

Afghanistan have specialized well and this is evidenced by the absence of ODI regulars Hamid Hassan, Shapoor Zadran and Rashid Khan, batsmen Noor Ali Zadran, Javed Ahmadi, Najibullah Zadran and Gulbadin Naib from the recent four-day team.

Stanikzai continued: “It means the talent is huge in Afghanistan and things have shaped up quite nicely and we have improved quite rapidly in the cricketing world.

“Afghanistan is a team that is ready to play Test cricket. We are just looking forward for this [two-tier] proposal to get passed by the ICC board. My stance and Afghanistan Cricket Board’s stance is quite clear that we need more opportunities.”