While Afghanistan is taking preparation for the historic moment of playing their inaugural Test match, Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Shafiq Stanikzai hailed India’s role to nourish Afghan cricket and said it is greater than the contribution of neighboring Pakistan.
Talking to Press Trust India, Stanikzai said, “BCCI’s role has really been immense. Since we moved to India the team has done well. The conditions in India are suiting the team quite well. The support we receive from BCCI has been instrumental,”
“In Pakistan we trained a lot in initial stages. Their (PCB) support was also tremendous.
“But since we moved to India, we have achieved big. We were associates and playing in a lower tier when practicing in Pakistan. Since we moved to India we are performing well. We have reached a stage where we are playing with the best.”
“So, comparatively, it is bigger. Financially it is helping us quite a lot. It is cost effective in comparison to playing in UAE.
“Conditions wise too it is good. It is easy to convince other boards to come and play in India. So, from different perspective, it is better to play in India,” said the CEO.
“I have requested the BCCI and they have agreed to support us in junior cricket (U17, emerging and A teams). Integrate education as well with tours. In principle, we are in agreement. We need to work on the composition of the competition,” he said.
Last season, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi became first Afghan cricketers to participate in the Indian Premier League.
Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO, therefore, said, “IPL played a huge role in getting the game popular back home. We don’t have just one Rashid Khan, we have so many Rashid Khans in every part of the country,” he added.
Afghanistan will appear in the first Test, after becoming the full ICC member, against India in coming June.
In this regard, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhury said on December last year as quoted by PTI, “Afghans were scheduled to play their first Test in 2019 versus Australia but considering the historic relationship between India and Afghanistan, we decided to host their first Test.”
Later, Atif Mashal, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman thanked BCCI for the nice gesture.
He said, “@ ACBofficials and @BCCI have agreed that Afghanistan will play its first Test against India. The exact date and venue of the match will be shared in a joint press conference in due course. I personally thank BCCI board for the decision.”
Afghanistan have come a long way since making its World T20 debut in 2010. They are ranked ninth in the shortest format and 11th in the 50-over format.
After featuring regularly in the World T20, the Afghans made the 50-over World Cup debut in 2015
Afghanistan, along with Ireland, were awarded Test status by the International Cricket Council in June. Thus Afghanistan became the 11th and Ireland is 12th full member of ICC.
Ireland will play their first Test match against Pakistan in May this year.