Final T20 between Ireland and Afghanistan abandoned

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Afghanistan players after the T20 series win. Image: Cricket Ireland/Twitter.

The final T20 International between Ireland and Afghanistan was abandoned without a ball being bowled on Friday.

Heavy overnight rain resulted in a waterlogged pitch and the decision was taken to call off the contest before the toss at Bready Cricket Club.

Afghanistan had already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series following victories by 16 and 81 runs in the first two matches.

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Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai changes his name to Asghar Afghan

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Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai has changed his name

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai has changed his name to Asghar Afghan in ‘honour of protecting the national identity of Afghan citizens’.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board confirmed the name change on their Twitter account on Thursday after the batsman had registered for the new Electronic National Identity Card.

Stanikzai has been an instrumental figure for the national team, scoring more than 2,000 international runs since making his debut in 2009.

The Kabul-born player has featured in one Test, 86 ODIs and 54 T20Is in a remarkable journey that saw Afghanistan qualify for the 2015 World Cup and achieve Test status.

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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly asks Afghanistan to not lose hope after inaugural Test defeat

Sudhir Gupta 18/06/2018
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Ganguly believes the Afghans will get there with time.

Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly said Afghanistan should not be disheartened by the two-day defeat to India in their inaugural Test.

Writing in his column for the Times of India, Ganguly said that Asghar Stanikzai’s men can only improve after losing by an innings and 262 runs.

“No surprises were thrown up at the Chinnaswamy Stadium but at the same time not many expected that the India-Afghanistan Test match would get over in just two days. The Afghan boys shouldn’t worry about how long the Test lasted but should rewind the entire two days to realise what they need to do to get better in the longer format of the game,” Ganguly wrote.

“This has happened with many other teams. When Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe were inducted into Test cricket, their initial days were also sketchy.

“It is with time that they got better. Afghanistan, and for that matter the other new entrant, Ireland, will have to be given more time to understand and come to terms with the demands of the longest format of the game. With time they will learn.”

Test cricket’s latest entrants lost 20 wickets in a single day at Bengaluru and Ganguly said Afghanistan batsmen need to have more patience if they are to succeed.

Afghanistan in a huddle during the Test. Image - BCCI.

Afghanistan in a huddle during the Test. Image – BCCI/Twitter.

“The Afghans were still in T20 mode and the lack of footwork was pretty apparent when they played pace bowling. Umesh Yadav bowled good pace and it did put doubts in the batters’ minds. Test cricket is about patience and proper shot selection. As much as solid shots, judgment outside the off stump and letting deliveries go is very important to succeed and in time and with proper coaching they will learn,” the 45-year-old wrote.

Afghanistan superstar and No1 ranked T20 bowler Rashid Khan had a harsh introduction to Test cricket with the leg-spinner finishing with figures of 2-154. Ganguly believes the 19-year-old can learn a lot about the format by talking to former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble.

“Rashid Khan bowled well in patches and it must have been a good learning exercise for him bowling those long spells. He needs to give the champion [Anil] Kumble a ring as he is not far away,” wrote Ganguly.

“Test cricket is about bowling maidens and putting pressure back on the opposition, especially when batsmen are not coming at you, as it happens in T20,” he added.

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