ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Playing Australia 'more than a dream'
Afghanistan spinner looks ahead to Test in Australia in 2020 and World Cup clash this year
Sam Ferris in Sydney
30 January 2019, 08:27 AM AEST
Tuesday in Sydney was all about T20 cricket but the thought of playing a Test match in Australia next year brought a wide smile to the face of ace Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan.
In between the 2020 T20 World Cup fixture announcement and the Sydney Sixers' thumping win over the Adelaide Strikers at the SCG, Rashid was asked about what it will mean to line-up for Afghanistan in their maiden Test match against Australia that is slated for November 2020.
"From Afghanistan, playing Test cricket against Australia in Australia it's more than a dream," a beaming Rashid said.
"Afghanistan got the full membership and last we played against India in India and now we're playing against Ireland in India and then Australia here.
"Being a player, it means a lot. Against Australia, playing Test matches is a huge achievement and me and the players are really looking forward (to it).
"We played here (in T20 games) a lot but … Test cricket is very different."
Afghanistan were granted full ICC member status in June 2017 and played their first Test 12 months later against India in Bengaluru.
It was a rough initiation into Test cricket as India thrashed the rookie Test nation by an innings and 262 runs, with Rashid taking 2-154 from 34.5 overs.
The ICC's Future Tours Programme for 2018-23 indicates Afghanistan have five Tests scheduled before facing Australia in Australia at the start of the 2021-22 season.
In March, Afghanistan will face Ireland in India before playing Zimbabwe (August), Bangladesh (October), West Indies (November-December) and Ireland again (March 2020).
Then it's Australia, after the T20 World Cup and before India's four-Test series that will count towards the World Test Championship.
Rashid can't wait to take on the Australians on their own turf, but has put in an early request regarding where he would like the fixture to be scheduled.
Or rather, where he would like it not to be scheduled.
"Pretty excited to face the quick bowlers here, big bouncy wickets," he said with a cheeky grin.
"As we have seen against India, I think wickets are very tough here to bat on, especially in the Test cricket.
"I hope that we don't play in Perth, we play somewhere else on a good wicket to make some runs and a little bit good for the spinner as well.
"Pretty excited about it so let's see how it goes."
But before the historic Test match, Afghanistan will encounter Australia in their first match of the 2019 World Cup on June 1 in Bristol.
It's a mismatch on paper – the five-time and defending world champions Australia up against Afghanistan, who are competing in just their second tournament – but Rashid has the belief they can pull of a major World Cup upset.
"We have the talent, we have the skills but to control our nerves in the pressure situation, that will be the key,” he said.