Shafiq Stanikzai, the CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), has said that Afghanistan would visit Australia for a Test match.
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He also confirmed that the newest member of the Test arena would also host the team from Down Under.
Stanikzai’s comments came after the conclusion of International Cricket Council’s meeting in Kolkata last week. The governing body of the game signed a new Future Tours Programme (FTP) for 2019-2023 during the meeting.
Stanikzai said Afghanistan is set to play 14-18 Tests in the new FTP. He also confirmed the Tests against Australia would not be a part of the Test championship.
“We are playing 14-18 Tests in the new FTP cycle. We will be playing against England, Australia, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Bangladesh,” Stanikzai said.
“These series does not come under the Test Championship, these will be all bilateral series – home and away,” he added.
Afghanistan and Australia locked horns in international cricket for the last time in 2015 World Cup.
Australia, the eventual winners of the tournament, had steamrolled the minnows by a record margin of 275 runs. Their next meeting will also take place in the World Cup, scheduled to take place in England next year.
Afghanistan have come a long way since being thrashed in the last World Cup. Last year, Afghanistan along with Ireland got awarded Test status. They were the first admissions in the game’s full members since Bangladesh gained Test status in 2000.
Afghanistan have taken significant strides since being given the ODI status in 2011. They qualified for the 2015 World Cup and won their first game in the tournament by beating Scotland.
Last year, they drew an ODI series with T20 world champions, West Indies. They also won the ICC World Cup Qualifiers to make it to the main event.
And Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai is hopeful of putting up a better show in the upcoming game against the reigning world champions. He also said the team is looking forward to taking on the defending champions.
“That was a match which taught us plenty of cricket lessons. And as recent results show, we have learnt from that match and only got better since that tournament,” Asghar said.
“I am getting goosebumps thinking about playing Australia in our World Cup opener in England.
“For most of us, it is like a dream, but the reality is we have worked extremely hard for this and have been rewarded with the opportunity of not only playing against Australia but all the big nations who have done so very well in international cricket over the past years.
“The match against Australia provides us the chance to make a strong start in the tournament of the best versus the best, and ensure people take serious note of us,” he added.