Shafiq Stanikzai, CEO of Afghanistan’s Cricket Board (ACB), has predicted the rise of their national squad in all formats of the sport in the near future, according to a Gulf News report.
“We have marked our presence in all formats of the game. We are a force in T20 cricket and in the ODIs already. Now, we need to invest some time and energy in Test cricket and raise our level there as well,” he told Gulf News on the sidelines of the inaugural Afghanistan Premier League of Cricket (APLC) tournament at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the UAE.
“We need some more investment in the longer version of the game. We played a Test match against India and that was a good learning curve for us. No doubt we were defeated heavily, but we are taking a lot of positives out of this result,” he said.
The Afghan team will next play Zimbabwe, West Indies, Australia and possibly England.
“We have been charting our course in the world of international cricket. You can be sure that Afghanistan will be a force to reckon with in the next three to four years in all formats of the game,” he said.
Stanikzai also told Gulf News that the new league was part of the ACB’s plan to ensure Afghanistan makes its mark on the big stage when the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is played in England.
This comes after New Zealand’s batsman Colin Munro told The Hindu this week that he is confident Afghanistan will spring a surprise at the Cricket World Cup 2019.
The New Zealand batsman, who is currently playing for Balkh Legends in the Afghanistan Premier League of Cricket, believes Afghanistan could well prove to be the dark horse next year.
“They have match-winners with both bat and ball, and they have shown what they could do at the recent Asia Cup,” he told The Hindu.
With the likes of Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum and Shahid Afridi all taking part in the league, Munro believes it is the perfect opportunity for the nation’s young stars to learn from the best ahead of the World Cup, The Hindu reported.
“I feel the (cricket) APL would help their cricketers greatly. Rubbing shoulders with some of the best cricketers in the world will be beneficial for them.
“They have already begun asking me questions. And I will be happy if a couple of young Afghan cricketers gain something by working with players like me at the (cricket) APL.”