Afghanistan and Ireland's journeys to Test cricket

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The captains: Asghar Stanikzai and William Porterfield [Getty Images]

AFGHANISTAN CRICKET’S RECENT TIMELINE

2001 – Become an affiliate member of the ICC.

2009 – Play in their first official ODI match, defeating Scotland by 89 runs.

2010 – Participate in the ICC World T20 for the first time.

2013 – Become an associate member of the ICC.

2015 – Participate in the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time. A win against Scotland sees them end the group stages with two points.

2016 – Defeat West Indies, who would go on to become eventual champions, in the ICC World T20.

2017 – Become a full member of the ICC and, thereby, attain Test status.


IRELAND CRICKET’S RECENT TIMELINE

1993 – Become an associate member of the ICC.

2006 – Play in their first official ODI match, but lose to England by 38 runs. They would defeat Scotland to register their first ODI win a few weeks later.

2007 – Participate in the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time and reach the Super 8 stage after a tied match against Zimbabwe and a win against Pakistan.

2009 – Participate in the ICC World T20 for the first time and defeat Bangladesh en route to reaching the Super 8 stage of the tournament.

2011 – Defeat England in a World Cup match thanks to a brilliant century from Kevin O’Brien.

2015 – Another World Cup, another big win for Ireland as they get the better of the West Indies.

2017 – Become a full member of the ICC and, thereby, attain Test status.

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Afghanistan and Ireland attain Test status: Two players from each team to watch out for

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Players to watch out for [Getty Images]

The rise of Afghanistan cricket has been one of the most heart-warming cricketing stories in recent years.

One of their best moments came when they managed to defeat eventual champions West Indies during the 2016 ICC World T20.

Earlier this year, they showed that they are ready for Test cricket after they beat Ireland by an innings and 172 runs in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Here are two Afghanistan cricketers you should look out for.

MOHAMMAD NABI

Mohammad Nabi is a name that has been synonymous with Afghanistan cricket over the years. The 32-year-old has a lot of experience behind him, having represented his country in 83 ODIs and 58 T20Is.

Spin bowling is currently one of the big strengths of the Afghanistan team and Nabi is an integral part of that.

An all-rounder, Nabi has a superb record in first-class cricket: 1159 runs at an average of 25.75 and 81 wickets at an average of 22.40 in 30 matches.

RASHID KHAN

A lot of people were surprised when Sunrisers Hyderabad spent INR 4 crore to acquire the services of Rashid Khan at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction earlier this year. They weren’t surprised anymore after watching the 18-year-old perform in the tournament as he bamboozled some of the top batsmen in the world with his bowling.

Rashid is one of the upcoming stars in world cricket and it’s great news for the sport that he will now be able to represent his country in Tests. A leg-spinner, he has remarkable stats when it comes to the ODI and T20I formats.

He has so far played two first-class matches, including one against the England Lions in December 2016 – a game in which he picked up 12 wickets. Also, watch out for some handy contributions with the bat from Rashid.


Test cricket for Ireland is something that has been a long time coming. Their qualification for the Super 8 stage in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup was a big moment in their cricketing history.

In the two 50-over World Cups after that, they managed to defeat England in 2011 and the West Indies in 2015 which again showed that they can challenge the full member teams.

Here are two Ireland cricketers you should look out for.

ED JOYCE

Ed Joyce’s experience of having scored over 18000 runs at an average of almost 48 in 250 first-class matches should definitely come in handy for the Irish team.

He is one of the few players to have played for two teams at the international level, having represented England during 2006-07. Since 2011, the left-handed batsman has played for Ireland with distinction.

At the age of 38, Joyce will be keen to make the most out of his time in Test cricket.

BOYD RANKIN

Another Irish player who played for England, Boyd Rankin has played one Test which came during the 2013-14 Ashes.

Since then, Rankin has returned to play for Ireland and was part of the team at the ICC World T20 in 2016.

A tall pacer, the 32-year-old has a lot of experience under his belt, having played 99 first-class matches in which he has picked up 319 wickets at an average of 26.64.

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Ireland and Afghanistan attain Test status after ICC grant them full membership

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Ireland and Afghanistan have attained Test status after they were granted full membership by the International Cricket Council.

The ICC met for its annual conference in London on Thursday and confirmed Ireland and Afghanistan as full members after a unanimous vote.

Ireland have been playing as affiliate members since 1993 and have recorded famous victories over Pakistan, England and the West Indies in that time.

Now they will be able to play Test cricket against the world’s best, with Afghanistan also making the step up having only achieved affiliate membership in 2013.

The ICC confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon, posting on Twitter: “@ACBofficials and @Irelandcricket confirmed as Full Members after a unanimous vote at ICC Full Council meeting.

“Both will now be eligible to play Test cricket following a recommendation that their applications met newly approved member criteria.”

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