Afghans look forward to Test status

“Right now, we are an affiliate member. The International Cricket Council (ICC) promised us to make us an associate member by June, but our main focus is to qualify for the 2015 World Cup. I am sure we will become a Test-playing nation in the next five to six years,” said Massoud, who is in the city for a meeting with BCCI officials.

“India has the influence and money to do a lot for Afghanistan cricket if they want and we have had some fruitful talks. We hope they lend us support,” he said.

Massoud credited Afghanistan’s batting consultant cum coach Umesh Patwal for their World Twenty20 qualification. “We qualified for the World Cup in 2010 under Umesh Patwal’s guidance. There’s a lot of passion for cricket in Afghanistan, and there are good players, but we suffer mainly because we don’t get to play enough matches in this region,” he remarked.

The Afghanistan team is currently in Lahore for a month-long conditioning camp which also includes a series of matches against Pakistan A and several regional sides. Afghanistan will play Scotland next month in the ICC league series in a four-day match, two ODIs and a T20 to prepare for next year’s World T20. “People back home are keenly following the Bangladesh Premier League just to watch Hamid Hassan. We want to play in the next ODI World Cup and make our presence felt,” Massoud signed off.

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