Hashmatullah Shahidi wants more Tests and ODIs for Afghanistan to 'improve'

Hashmatullah Shahidi wants more Tests and ODIs for Afghanistan to 'improve'

In what could be his penultimate appearance in front of the global media in this tournament, Afghanistan captain Hashmatullah Shahidi held his board and the ICC responsible for prioritizing ODIs in the future. Afghanistan, currently sixth with eight points, will need to beat South Africa by a wide margin in their final league match on Friday in Ahmedabad and also hope Pakistan lose to England to advance to the semi-finals.

“50-over cricket is also important,” Shahidi said in Ahmedabad. “Right now, there are too many leagues, too much T20 cricket and I think 50-overs and Test cricket are more important. If we have those games, we will definitely improve more. We hope that our cricket board and the ICC will give us more matches.” for our improvement.”

Despite their expectations, the suspension of the World Cup Super League means that Afghanistan is no longer guaranteed a series against the so-called bigger teams and the most recent version of the FTP shows a reduced schedule. while they were playing 29 ODIs Including series against the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Pakistan between the end of the last World Cup and the start of this one (note that two and a half of those years were severely affected by Covid-19 disruptions), They are scheduled to play 33 in the next cycle, but only six against teams in the top eight and none against Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa or Pakistan. Shahidi is hopeful that will change. “We have a cricket board and administration and we hope they do a lot of series with other teams. There will be 50-over cricket. I hope so.”

Whatever happens, Afghanistan can look forward to at least some ODI cricket in the not-too-distant future. They cannot finish lower than sixth in this World Cup, guaranteeing them a place in the Champions Trophy in 2025 and the opportunity to play against the other seven best teams in the format.

South Africa, their last opponent in the group stage of this World Cup and fellow Champions Trophy qualifiers, also have doubts about the relevance of the 50-over format, especially since they will be co-hosting the next ODI World Cup in 2027 and they have reserved that tournament as theirs to win. They understand that in the four years between this tournament and the next, more T20 leagues are likely to emerge, offering more money than Cricket South Africa (CSA) can match, and players will inevitably be attracted to them at the expense of international cricket. . .

A ready-made example is Quinton de Kock, who is retired from Test and saying goodbye to ODIs in this tournament, but also opted for a gig with Melbourne Renegades for the Big Bash League and away from South Africa’s home series against India. Under previous circumstances, that would have made him ineligible for the T20 World Cup, but CSA has changed its selection policy and will now keep the international door open for players who do not play bilaterals. “We don’t come with a fixed mentality. We are very open to the new world. The management of star players is going to be important.”

Nkwe hopes that this “new model”, as he called it, will encourage many of the current team members to continue to be available for the World Cups, particularly in 2027. “We hope that the majority of the star players will be available by 2027.” opportunity to finish his career at home, with the possibility of us winning it,” Nkwe said. “Star players are the majority of players who play in the leagues. David Miller, Quinny [de Kock]Career [van der Dussen]Teba [Bavuma] – Most of them are over 30 years old, but when I talk to them, they are very hungry for cutlery for South Africa. We are going to have to be realistic and do it year by year. “After the World Cup I would like to talk to them about the future.”

The main attraction, according to Nkwe, lies in the format itself because although there are ICC events every year, “this one (the ODI World Cup) is the main one,” he said. “They want this one.”

And from the looks of it, Afghanistan too.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent for South Africa and women’s cricket