Test fledglings sq. off as Ireland, Afghanistan look to reinforce red-ball credentials

Big image – A uncommon Test for Afghanistan and Ireland

Six-and-a-half years in the past, these two sides had been awarded Full Member standing, however apart from the monetary perks that brings, that promotion for Ireland and Afghanistan has appeared little greater than theoretical. Neither aspect is a part of the World Test Championship; none of them have even performed a three-match Test collection. The two have mixed for 15 Tests, practically all of them stand-alone, one-off video games tacked on like afterthoughts to a white-ball collection.

The Test these two play in Abu Dhabi this week isn’t any completely different, one five-day recreation adopted by three ODIs and three T20Is. Afghanistan are coming off a Test in Colombo that Sri Lanka received at a canter, however not less than which means they’ve some red-ball expertise they’ll leverage. Much of the squad is much like the one they picked for that recreation, and whereas Rashid Khan strikes nearer to a return, Afghanistan stay with out him for now.
Ireland, in the meantime, final performed a Test in the summertime of 2023, although they did play 4 Tests that yr, a quantity Afghanistan must return to 2021 to equal. Unlike the three Tests Afghanistan have received, although, Ireland are but to interrupt their duck, ending second finest in all seven. That is mitigated by the comparatively more durable opposition they’ve performed, and the one match these sides performed in opposition to one another earlier than was additionally formally a “home” Test for Afghanistan, performed in Dehradun. Afghanistan would ease to a seven-wicket win.

Afghanistan LLWLL (final 5 accomplished matches, most up-to-date first)

In the highlight – Gurbaz and Tucker

Wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz is one in all Afghanistan’s brightest stars for his prowess with the bat and behind the stumps within the white-ball recreation, however is but to make his Test debut. That seems virtually sure to alter together with his inclusion to this squad. While knowledge on his red-ball type of play is tough to reliably supply, the 12 first-class video games he is performed have seen him common virtually 50 with a strike fee over 72. There is little purpose why his apparent expertise mustn’t translate to the longest format, and if he hits his stride, will probably be as watchable as it’s efficient.
Vice-captain Lorcan Tucker is one in all Ireland’s nailed-on starters, although a lot of the previous three months have seen him heat substitute benches in South Africa and Pakistan. He was with the Paarl Royals within the SA20, however would not find yourself getting a recreation, and performed as wicketkeeper for Lahore Qalandars of their opening fixture earlier than being benched for the subsequent two. But Ireland require him to hit the bottom operating in Abu Dhabi, and relied on him for his contributions within the center order in all 4 Tests in 2023. He was their main Test run-scorer for the yr, his 351 runs coming at 43.87, a median none of his countrymen matched.

Afghanistan’s greatest problem considerations papering over Rashid’s absence. Left-arm wristspinner Zahir Khan is again within the squad after lacking out in opposition to Sri Lanka, and uncapped legspinner Khalil Gurbaz has additionally been drafted in.

Afghanistan: 1 Ibrahim Zadran 2 Noor Ali Zadran 3 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk) 4 Rahmat Shah 5 Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt) 6 Ikram Alikhil 7 Nasir Jamal 8 Zia ur Rehman 9 Nijat Masood 10 Naveed Zadram 11 Zahir Khan

Left-arm spinner Theo van Woerkom, who switched allegiances from New Zealand to Ireland and made his white-ball debut final yr, seems set to play his first Test in a line-up that in any other case seems much like Ireland’s latest Test beginning XIs.

Ireland: 1 James McCollom 2 Peter Moor 3 Andrew Balbirnie (capt) 4 Harry Tector 5 Paul Stirling 6 Curtis Campher 7 Lorcan Tucker (wk) 8 Mark Adair 9 Andy McBrine 10 Theo van Woerkom 11 Craig Young

There was a late change of venue for this Test match. Originally scheduled for the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the sport will now be performed on the Tolerance Oval adjoining to the larger floor. A press launch later confirmed that the change was as a result of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium will as a substitute be internet hosting the Abu Dhabi Schools Sports Championship, between March 1 and three.

Ireland, who chosen their preliminary squad on the belief the Sheikh Zayed Stadium does not take an excessive amount of red-ball flip, solely realized of the change after arriving within the UAE. With this being the primary Test on the Oval, circumstances are a little bit of a thriller, although climate is just not anticipated to play spoilsport.

  • The Tolerance Oval would be the 122nd venue to host Test match cricket.
  • Afghanistan’s dependence on Rashid displays within the wickets charts. The legspinner has taken 34 in 5 matches, 16 away from his closest compatriot, Amir Hamza, who has 18.
  • Should Ireland register a win in both of their subsequent three Tests, they may pip Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and New Zealand within the variety of matches taken to register their first Test win
  • Source web site: www.espncricinfo.com

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