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Afghanistan ecstatic after getting Test match status
June 24, 2017
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Kabul: Cricket-mad Afghanistan was euphoric after being awarded Test match status, a rare glimmer of good news amid rising insecurity, though many lamented the lack of sports infrastructure in the conflict-torn country.

Both Ireland and Afghanistan became Cricket’s 11th and 12th Test nations on Thursday following a unanimous vote by the International Cricket Council during its annual meeting in London.

“This achievement was a dream for Afghanistan and we have been yearning for this status,” said Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman Atif Mashal, hailing it as a “historic achievement”.

“We have been granted the full membership and the Test status, and I congratulate this news to the Cricket board, and to the entire Afghan nation.”

Afghan Cricket has made rapid strides since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, with the country’s premier leg-spinner Rashid Khan making waves in T20 leagues including Indian Premier League this year. The successes have brought much-needed cheer in a country beset by a wrenching conflict that has resulted in a record number of civilian casualties.

“For a nation like Afghanistan it is a huge and remarkable achievement, the entire nation will be celebrating,” said Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive Shafiq Stanikzai.

“Afghanistan... dared to dream that this would happen and today it has become a reality.”

But many fans rued the lack of infrastructure — and security — to host international matches.

“Afghanistan does not have many Cricket grounds that meet international standards and most importantly security to host games,” said 24-year-old Kabul resident Mohammad Daud.

Agence France-Presse

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