Afghans' maiden Test in the works

New addition to Test cricket hopeful of lining up a match with Zimbabwe later this year

Cricket Network

01 August 2017, 07:03 PM

The rise of Afghanistan cricket continues apace, with reports the country is on the verge of securing its first ever Test match appearance. 

Having dominated the ICC's Intercontinental Cup, they and Ireland were awarded Test status on June 22. 

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Neither country has confirmed their first Test match yet, but Afghanistan could be in the running to become the 11th Test playing nation with a match against Zimbabwe reportedly in the works.

Zimbabwe have enjoyed a cricketing renaissance of sorts in recent times, beating Sri Lanka in a one-day series that resulted in the resignation of captain Angelo Mathews, and would consider themselves unlucky not to have won the Test match between the countries after a controversial umpiring decision went against them on a tense final day.

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There have been conflicting reports around the schedule which has yet to be confirmed, but it appears likely an Afghanistan-Zimbabwe Test and limited overs will take later this year.

Zimbabwe are expected to participate in an ODI tri-series in Bangladesh that would also involve Sri Lanka in February next year. It's understood the Afghanistan matches would take place before that.

Afghanistan have regularly used the India city of Greater Noida as their base for international cricket, while they also have strong links to the UAE, similar to the arrangement in which Pakistan has hosted its international cricket since 2009.

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It appears unlikely Afghan-Pakistan relations will be thawing anytime soon with a feud between the boards over comments following a Kabul bomb blast that cost 80 lives.

On their elevation to Test status in June, Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Shafiq Stanikzai said: "For a nation like Afghanistan it is a huge and remarkable achievement, the entire nation will be celebrating.

"Afghanistan cricket has gone from strength to strength and we dared to dream that this would happen and today it has become a reality."

Afghanistan international Mohammad Nabi took to Twitter to label the elevation "a dream come true".

Stanikzai said in a subsequent conference call with reporters that he would "consult with the "Full (Test) members in our region," regarding the staging of Afghanistan's first Test.

Many Afghans' first contact with cricket only took place during the 1980s and 1990s, as refugees fled to Pakistan to escape the Soviet invasion.