Rashid Khan: The more Tests we play, the better we get

After attaining Test status in 2017, Afghanistan has featured in just four fixtures, winning two, and losing a couple.

Rashid believes domestic cricket, back in Afghanistan, should improve to prepare players for international cricket.   -  AFP

Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan believes it is important for his team to play more Test matches to get used to the format.

After attaining Test status in 2017, Afghanistan has featured in just four fixtures, winning two, and losing a couple.

“This is just a beginning in Test cricket for us and we will struggle. We have struggled in the ODIs as well. We had the best opportunity in the first innings, to score some runs and put them under pressure. We did not have enough experience in the middle,” Rashid said after his side’s nine-wicket defeat to the West Indies at the EKana Stadium here.

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Focus on Tests

Put in to bat, Afghanistan got off to a good start in the first innings, but a middle-order collapse saw it fold for 187. “We got the starts and early partnerships but slowed down after that. In this format, if you let yourself down against an opposition like the West Indies, they won’t let you get up again. That’s what happened to us,” Rashid said.

While Rashid treats the one-off Test as a ‘good experience’, he admits Afghanistan needs to work hard against the big teams. “If you don’t score big runs against top teams, you will struggle no matter what you do. We did not have enough runs in the first innings, which allowed them to play freely and get the lead. We made the same mistakes in the second innings,” he said.

Bettering domestic cricket

While the major focus remains on limited-overs cricket, Rashid feels there should be more planning for Tests as well. “Practice makes man perfect and the more you practise in Test cricket, the better you get. If we play them again in Test cricket in a short time, we will know what are the right things to do. That’s what we are hoping for,” he said. “Now, you play one Test a year, that kind of takes the momentum away. It’s tough for us to get more Tests against big teams, but we are trying to get as many as we can,” he added.

Rashid also believes domestic cricket, back in Afghanistan, should improve to prepare players for international cricket. “We need to work a lot on our first-class cricket. It is struggling there. The quality there is not as good as it should be in a Test nation. Once we get the quality, the first-class structure in place, it will be easy for us to get used to the longer format. We should focus more on longer formats and 50-over games back home,” he said.

“We are famous for T20s; people love T20s back home, but we are struggling in the long format. We need to make first-class cricket more competitive and tougher than domestic cricket,” Rashid said.

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