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Sharjah picked over greater Noida to host Afghanistan’s first Test

Sharjah has hosted 9 Test matches thus far.

Sharjah. (Picture Source: Twitter)

The iconic venue of Sharjah is all set to enter the record books yet again. The Sharjah Cricket Stadium is being seen as the frontrunner in the race to host Afghanistan’s first ever Test match. The ICC had granted the Test status to Afghanistan and Ireland earlier this year. The cricket board of Afghanistan is all set to host the Zimbabwe team in their first ever Test at Sharjah later this year.

If the tour gets underway and the Afghanistan team plays their maiden Test game, they would be the first new team to enter the Test cricket arena since Bangladesh in 2000. They will become the 11th country to play Test cricket. It is worth noting that Afghanistan have been playing their home games in UAE and India over the last few years. The venue at Greater Noida (India) has been their home venue for their international series in the past.

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Earlier this year, they had hosted Ireland at the very same venue for a 5 match ODI series and a 3-match T20I series. However, the administrators picked Sharjah over Noida to be the Test venue for them later this year. The reason cited for doing so was the favorable weather conditions.

“We are in the final stage of discussions, it will be in the UAE, and if the tour goes ahead our first choice will be to play at Sharjah. We are treating both UAE and India as our home venues, but in December-January Greater Noida is very foggy, and we will not be able to get a full day’s play in, so that is why we are shifting it to Sharjah,” quoted Shafiq Stanikzai, the chief executive of the ACB.

Getting good crowds in UAE

An official, as per the quotes in thenational.se, noted that team Afghanistan has always attracted good crowds in UAE and they expect the same in the Test match as well. He further added that the team has targeted a timeframe of 3 years before they become a competitive nation in the longest format of the game.

“Afghanistan have always pulled good crowds for matches in Sharjah. A Test match will be a morning match, on a week day, but for sure we expect there will be a good crowd,” said Mazhar Khan, the Sharjah Cricket Council administrator.

“I don’t think we will be taking long to compete with the other Test nations. Our strategic target is three years to become a competitive side. Within three years, we want to be in the top 10 in all three formats of the game. So I think our first Test victory will be very much sooner, rather than later,” he quoted further.

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