Thursday, 21 June 2018

Afghan captain hopes to win first Test for nation

Rashid Khan - AFP
Rashid Khan – AFP

GREATER NOIDA: Afghanistan’s cricketers hope to lift a nation pounded by decades of conflict when they proudly take their place as only the 12th Test nation next month.

The match from June 14 against India in Bangalore will cap one of the great sporting fairy tales after players from the war-torn nation rose from refugee camps to join cricket’s elite.

As militant attacks regularly shake their homeland, captain Asghar Stanikzai said his team are suffering too — but are also motivated to give the country something to cheer.

“It is very difficult. We get very sad when we hear about attacks in our country,” Stanikzai told AFP at the team’s training base near Delhi. “But we don’t lose our morale, we will try even more to win because the whole nation will be waiting for us to win, the whole nation will be very happy when we win.”

Stanikzai, 30, added with a smile: “Our wins give energy to the Afghan nation. We will try to change their sorrow to happiness.”

Afghanistan secured their prestigious Test status last year along with Ireland, who are playing their debut five-day match against Pakistan in Dublin.

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