Sharjah Cricket Stadium set to host Afghanistan's first ever Test in February

Denzil Pinto 21:01 22/10/2017
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Afghanistan is set to play their first-ever Test match in February at Sharjah Cricket Stadium – a venue which will also host the team’s ODI series against Ireland later this year.

Afghanistan, along with Ireland, were confirmed as the 11th and 12th Full Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June and the Asian side have identified Zimbabwe as their first possible opponents in the five-day match.

Talks between the two governing bodies are already underway for a series in Sharjah, which would also include the first Test.

The fixture had been scheduled to take place in December according to reports. However, according to Sharjah Cricket Stadium general manager Mazhar Khan, he revealed that it is likely to be held in early February, having held discussions with Afghanistan Cricket Board officials.

“They are working on getting a date in February with Zimbabwe,” Khan told Sport360. “This is what they are telling us and hopefully we will be hosting a Test match between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. They are planning to hold it in early February.

“We are waiting for the finalisation to come through and they are also trying to finalise it as well with Zimbabwe Cricket Board. Once that is done, they will let us know.”

If the series is expected to be confirmed, it will be the second series Sharjah will host in quick succession.

On Sunday, it was confirmed that the other new Full Member, Ireland will meet Afghanistan in three ODIs in December. The matches will take place on December 5, 7 and 10.

Having played their home games in Greater Noida in India, it will be a return to Sharjah for Afghanistan – a venue they called home between 2010-16.

“We are happy that another Test playing nation is going to play at our venue,” said Khan. “Not only that, it’s Afghanistan’s home venue as well and they have been playing here for a long time and I’m sure there will be a lot of crowd during the games.”

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