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Afghanistan relieved after Australia sanction one-off Test

Afghanistan relieved after Australia sanction one-off Test as the minnows will play a day-night match at Perth later this year.

Kabul, May 29: Relief and excitement are the overwhelming emotions for Afghanistan after Australia confirmed they would host them for a one-off test in Perth from November 21, said the chief executive of the country's cricket board.

Uncertainty loomed over Afghanistan's first ever Test against Australia due to travel and other restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

However, Cricket Australia gave the day-night match the green light on Thursday (May 28) when it announced its summer schedule headlined by a marquee series against India.

There were rumours that this Test match might not go ahead but it is a relief for us and our cricket fans that we have been given a confirmation," Chief Executive Lutfullah Stanikzai told Reuters.

"The world in general - and the cricketing world in particular - may not be the same after the coronavirus but we have to move on and cricket has to return," he said.

Having had to postpone a tour of Zimbabwe next month due to travel restrictions, the importance of the match against the world's top ranked test team was not lost on the Afghan board.

"It's going to be a fantastic opportunity for our players' development and in general for the development of Afghanistan cricket," Stanikzai said.

"Everyone in the cricket world, especially in Test cricket, looks up to Australia. It's going to be a historic and memorable occasion for Afghanistan as a new cricketing nation to play Australia in a test match."

The Test newcomers, who were awarded the coveted red-ball status in 2017, will not be completely unknown quantities to Australian cricket fans.

Players such as Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have become fan-favourites in Australia's Big Bash League with their fearless hitting and economical spin-bowling.

While there may still be restrictions that affect how many fans, if any, can watch the test at the 60,000-seater Perth Stadium, Stanikzai said it was important to see the big picture.

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Story first published: Friday, May 29, 2020, 15:17 [IST]
Other articles published on May 29, 2020
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