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‘Cricket boards should think about it’ – Rashid Khan wants longer tours against superior opponents

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan wants his team to compete against better opponents in longer tours, and has urged boards to try and ensure that for the sake of Afghanistan’s growth as a cricketing force.

Afghanistan were declared joint-winners alongside Bangladesh on Tuesday, September 24 after the final of the T20I tri-series was washed out. During the tournament, which also featured Zimbabwe, Afghanistan bettered their previous record [11] of consecutive T20I wins [12], and the sharing of the tri-series meant Afghanistan have lifted the trophy in their last five T20I tournaments.

However, Rashid, the No.1-ranked T20I bowler, rued the lack of Tests and ODIs in their short bilateral tours – their Bangladesh tour comprised just one Test and no ODIs.

“We should have longer series against Bangladesh, like have the main focus on 50 overs and Test matches,” Rashid said. “Cricket boards should think about it. There should be a three-match Test series. There’s more room to learn and have different experiences. More of 50 overs and Tests would be better for both nations.”

Afghanistan are placed higher than Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh in the T20I rankings, but are still a work in progress in ODIs and Tests. In ODIs, they are currently ranked No.10, and are yet to win a single game against the top teams like England and India.

They played their first ever Test just last year, and have so far played three Tests in all, winning two. However, they were excluded from the nine-team World Test Championship, and Rashid did not hide his disappointment.

“We are quite sad not to be part of the World Test Championship, but I think all we can do right now is play good Test cricket, to prove that decision wrong,” he said. “But at the same time, you can’t put a side in the championship who have played only three Tests.”

Rashid said the best way for his side to grow was to play better opponents, and cited the case of Bangladesh, who have become a legitimate force in the sport, particularly in the limited-overs game.

“The best example is Bangladesh,” said Rashid. “They played a lot against South Africa and ended up having the best result against them in the World Cup. If we want to be a good side, we should play more against the top sides. Not one match in four years.

“These teams have four fast bowlers who bowl 140-plus. We play against Scotland and Ireland, and they hardly have a 140-plus bowler. We have played only twice against Australia, New Zealand and England in the last five years [all in World Cups]. If we played more against them, we could have known their strengths and weaknesses. It should be looked into.”

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