International Cricket

Afghanistan must live up to sky-high expectations in debut Test, says skipper Stanikzai

Stanikzai said that they are not nervous but ‘well prepared’ for the rigours of Test match cricket.

Afghanistan face sky-high expectations at home ahead of their historic first-ever Test match starting Thursday against India, captain Asghar Stanikzai has said.

The mood in war-scarred Afghanistan may also help the team when they step out at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore to enjoy their newfound Test status, he told reporters on the eve of the game.

“It is itself history that we are playing the inaugural and historic Test match against the number one team in the world,” Stanikzai said.

“The mood back home is very positive. They expect us to perform well because recently Afghanistan performed really well in T20 and one day internationals and their expectation will be the same for Tests.

“We have worked hard for this and will try to keep up our good performance in the Test match as well,” the 30-year-old skipper said.

Stanikzai said that they are not nervous but “well prepared” for the rigours of Test match cricket.

Since gaining one day international status in 2009, the Afghans have made giant strides and qualified for their second 50-over World Cup in England and Wales next year. They have also been part of four Twenty20 World Cups.

Afghanistan, who have been forced to train in India since 2015 because of the conflict at home, have just secured a T20 series sweep over Bangladesh with teen sensation Rashid Khan now an international star.

The top T20 bowler in the ICC rankings, Khan took the Indian Premier League by storm with 21 wickets for runners-up Sunrisers Hyderabad.

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