FOR LONG, Afghanistan have tried to punch above their weight and, occasionally in the shorter formats, have given the big team a real scare. Afghanistan Cricket CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai tells The Indian Express that the chance to be a Test nation will be the most exciting thing to happen for their cricket.
What does it mean for Afghanistan to be called a Test nation?
It justifies and validates all the hard-work we’ve put in and all the challenges we have overcome to get here. We’ve been the most consistent associate team in recent times. Our record in first-class cricket is outstanding. We have lost only one out of our 19 matches in the Intercontinental Cup.
It also comes at a time when the Ahmad Shah Abdali regional four-day tournament has been awarded first-class status.
First-class status for the tournament means the players have an added motivation to perform even better and for us also to improve the quality of grounds, umpires and coaching standards and prepare to be a Test nation.
Afghanistan could also finally have voting rights on the ICC’s board matters.
It’s been very frustrating to sit on the sidelines and see only a handful of the same countries have the authority to have the final say and take decisions on our behalf. To let them decide where our cricket should go. It’s a big move that will enable cricket to finally call itself a global sport.
What would be Afghanistan’s dream maiden Test match?
India has been so supportive in our growth as a cricket nation. I think I can say this on behalf of all Afghans that facing India at the Eden Gardens will be the perfect way for us to start life as a Test nation.