Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi believes that Afghanistan have proved that they deserve to be bestowed with the honour of Test status.
Afghanistan have been knocking on the door for Test status for quite some time as they have put up a string of strong performances over the last few years.
Furthermore, with players like Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Shahzad having made their presence felt on the international stage, the 32-year-old is eager to see how his side fare in the longest format of the game.
“You’ve seen that the Afghanistan team has undergone a tremendous rise in the last few years. Now the aim is to get the Test status,” he told Firstpost. “(The reason for the rise) is that the talent that we have back home is natural. When we started back in 2000, there was nothing called cricket back home, the refugees from India, Pakistan and Europe brought the cricket talent with them.
“But the talent that is being produced in Afghanistan right now is the one who are watching us play international cricket on TV. Right now, Domestic, club cricket, Grade one, Grade two, T20, Four-day, First-class is starting off in Afghanistan.
“There are international grounds being made in Nangarhar Province, Khost, there is one in Kabul, India is building a stadium in Kandahar and they are in process of development in other cities too. This is the formation of the base and these are the signs that Afghanistan will the next (big) Asian team.
“The way our players are playing in different leagues around the world, like BPL, PSL, IPL, I and Rashid got selected in CPL. These are signs of talent in a nation that is madly in love with cricket and has the ‘junoon‘ for the game. And specially the biggest thing is that when every time we play a match, the entire Afghanistan watches it.”
But, are Afghanistan ready for the hardships of Test cricket? According to Nabi, they know what awaits them should be granted Test status.
“Inshallah! We are ready. If you see in four-day cricket, we have played three intercontinental cups and have lost just one match and that too the final against Ireland,” he said. “So these are the signs that we are not only good in T20s but also in four-day cricket. We are on top of the Intercontinental Cup and recently beat Ireland in two and half days.
“This is one of the biggest plus points to make the team a Test nation. Four-day game is extremely important, the more you accumulate points the more you play well, the more ICC will take notice of the quality of the team and consider it good enough.”
Given how they have dominated Associate cricket in the past couple of years, Nabi pointed out that Afghanistan need to play against more Full Member nations as they need stiffer competition and the chance to compete against some of the best players in the sport.
“The craving is there,” he added. “There is a constant effort to play against the big sides. The more we play with them, we get used to it which makes it easy and the fear goes away.”