Afghanistan to play maiden Test on Australian soil in 2020 under new FTP

Waseem Ahmed 21/06/2018
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Afghanistan will play Australia home and away. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

Afghanistan will play an one-off Test match in Australia in 2020 as part of the new ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the five-year period from 2019-2023.

While the likes of Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe have been excluded from ICC’s inaugural nine-team Test Championship, the latest entrants to the five-day format will get the chance to play on Australian soil for the first time.

Afghanistan will play their one-off Test against the hosts ahead of India’s tour of Australia in 2020-21 where they are slated to play four Tests.

Asghar Stanikzai’s men had only recently made their Test bow against the No1 ranked Indians in Bengaluru. The debutants had to taste defeat by an innings and 262-run inside just two days in their maiden Test bow.

Afghanistan had played India in their inaugural Test. Image - BCCI.

Afghanistan had played India in their inaugural Test. Image – BCCI.

According to the new FTP, Afghanistan are also slated to host the Aussies at home in 2022. Until 2022, Afghanistan will also play Tests against Ireland, Zimbabwe and West Indies apart from the Australians.

Ireland and Afghanistan, the two latest teams to achieve full ICC membership, have been assured of 12 Tests each between 2019 and 2022 despite not taking part in the Test Championship.

Ireland have been allotted an away Test against England in 2019 along with a home game against New Zealand in 2022.

Afghanistan currently play their home matches in India with the new Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket stadium in Dehradun being designated as their base.

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2019 World Cup early favourites England reaping rewards of playing the Eoin Morgan way

Ashish Peter 21/06/2018
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Morgan's brand of fearless cricket is paying off finally for England.

In a match that will live long in the minds of England and Australia cricket fans as the ‘Massacre at Trent Bridge’, there were plenty of reasons to smile for Eoin Morgan.

As England beat their own record of the highest-ever ODI total by putting up 481-6 against a hapless Aussie attack, their skipper passed a couple of milestones himself.

Morgan broke Jos Buttler’s record for the fastest ODI half-century by an England batsman by getting to the mark in just 21 balls. En route to his superb fifty, the southpaw went past Ian Bell’s total of 5, 416 runs to become the most successful England batsman in ODI history.

What makes Morgan’s achievements even more remarkable is the fact that the Ireland-born batsman switched to English colours only in 2009.

Nine years later, the 31-year-old carries the hopes of a maiden World Cup for England as they prepare to host the event in their own backyard next year.  Since taking over the limited-overs England captaincy full time from Alastair Cook in 2014, Morgan and England have hit new heights while also touching a few lows.

The likes of Alex Hales have flourished under Morgan's regime.

The likes of Alex Hales have flourished under Morgan’s regime.

By his own admission, the 2015 World Cup was a watershed moment for Morgan and England cricket. After failing to qualify for the quarter-finals following a dismal fifth place finish in the seven-team Group A, England were forced to rethink their approach to the limited-overs game.

It was Morgan who advocated turning to a fearless brand of cricket. The left-hander wanted his players to be allowed to play with complete freedom without any fear of retribution if things did not go their way.

It was a brand of cricket moulded in his own image. Morgan had a fearless approach to batting even in his early days for England when the team’s approach was anything but daring.

Morgan has built the team in his own attacking image.

Morgan has built the team in his own attacking image.

In the end, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) backed their skipper to the hilt in his quest to bring about a radical change and are now reaping the rewards of that inspired decision. The transition to the new approach wasn’t always rosy but Morgan and his men remained impervious to criticism as they continued to back their new method.

Gone were the days of Cook, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell making up England’s top-order as the likes of Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy were thrust into the limelight.

Home series losses to Australia and New Zealand followed after the disastrous World Cup campaign but nothing was going to shake Morgan’s confidence in his approach. It is only over the two seasons that England’s gung-ho approach has started to force the rest of the world take notice.

Since that ill-fated World Cup campaign, England have crossed the 350-run mark a staggering 11 times while touching 400-plus on three separate occasions. They have also completed back-to-back series wins over old foes Australia in a remarkable change in the balance of power between the two sides. In their last 31 ODI clashes, Morgan’s men have been on the losing end only six times.

Now, with less than a year to go for the 10-team global showpiece in England, the hosts are looking pre-tournament favourites after consolidating their grip on the No1 ranking in ODI cricket.

Along the the way, shock defeats like the one to Scotland only recently have been suffered. But through it all, Morgan and England have remained defiant.

That will continue for the next 11 months or so and more records are likely to be broken as England keep playing the Eoin Morgan way.

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Live Cricket Blog: England women break T20 record

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Catch the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Hello, Ajit Vijaykumar and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

11:00 pm – England women set new T20 record

Tammy Beaumont hit 116 as England women set a new record for the highest-ever women’s T20 score against South Africa at Taunton.

Danni Wyatt helped Beaumont put on 147 for the opening wicket with 56 as England piled up 250-3 to overhaul New Zealand’s 216-1, which was only set in the morning on the same ground against the same opponents in this tri-series.

Watch the full report here.

10:45 pm – Pujara out for second straight duck

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara’s horrendous form in England continued as he was dismissed for a second consecutive ducky by South African pace ace Dale Steyn.

On Wednesday, Pujara was clean bowled for a duck by Styen in Yorkshire’s county match against Hampshire.

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7:45 pm – Langer in awe of England top order

England & Australia Net Sessions

Australia coach Justin Langer said England’s top order reminds him of legendary Aussie ODI players Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting.

England scored a world record 481-6 against Australia in the third ODI at Trent Bridge on Tuesday.

“Their top three (Roy, Bairstow and Hales) are brutal,” said Langer. “The way they are playing is reminiscent of how we used to play in our day with Gilly, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting at the top.”

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7:30 pm – Rohit Sharma passes fitness test

India top order batsman Rohit Sharma passed the mandatory fitness test and will join India’s tour of England after speculation over his fitness.

Recently, batsman Ambati Rayudu and pacer Moahmmed Shami had failed their fitness tests, leading to last minute-changes to the teams.

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4:30 pm – Pakistan to monitor Amir’s workload

Amir

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said the team will manage pacer Mohammad Amir’s workload ahead of next year’s World Cup.

“I am going to sit with Mohammad Amir and (selector) Inzamam-ul-Haq soon and we are going to map out a future for him. After our discussions, Inzamam will present the plan to the selection panel and then to the player,” the coach said.

Read the full story here.

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