Ibrahim Zadran (Photo Source: X/Twitter)
Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott opined that his side needs to play more Test matches to come good in the longest format. His comments came after Afghanistan’s ten-wicket defeat against Sri Lanka in the one-off Test contested at the Singhalese Sports Club Cricket Ground, which was technically their eighth match in the format. Despite the loss, Trott was impressed with his side’s performance, especially on Day 3 of the game.
He also mentioned that Afghanistan did not get the services of some amazing players, with the likes of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Fazalhaq Farooqi, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who were currently taking part in the 2024 ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates. The visitors also played without premier spinner Rashid Khan, who is currently undergoing rehabilitation following a back surgery.
“This is our eighth Test as a nation, and this year Sri Lanka play ten Tests. At the moment, you see in the T20 and ODI formats, the more we get to play the better, and the bigger pool of talent we can select from. But for us to come here and go neck and neck with Sri Lanka, and yesterday dominate the day, shows promising signs for the future,” Trott was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“There are a lot of other players we can call upon to play Test cricket, but they’re all still playing the leagues. I think Sri Lanka faces the same issues. So do all cricketing the nations. It’s about when those Tests are played and the availability of players, and if the players feel like the balance between leagues and playing for the national side is. It’s a double-edged sword, but I would like to have a full batch of players to be able to select from. Hopefully for Ireland [whom Afghanistan play in a one-off Test beginning February 28], we can get that right.
“Cricketers have a short window in their careers, and they’re trying to set themselves up and trying to find the right balance in terms of nation and league. The more money there is in Test cricket the more attractive it’s going to be for younger players. That’s my one fear, that younger players aren’t going to see it as a route to playing. Test cricket is so unique. It’s such a shame if that isn’t protected and nurtured as much as possible,” the coach added.
Trott lauds Zadran who scored a ton in Afghanistan’s second innings
Jonathan Trott further lavished praise on Ibrahim Zadran, who scored 114 in Afghanistan’s second innings. The 42-year-old was heavily impressed by his performance and remarked that he is a ‘great ambassador for the game.’ Notably, Zadran’s ton was marked as the fourth by an Afghanistan batter and the first from a youngster who is just 22 years old.
“Yesterday, he spent the whole day in the field. He fielded in the morning on the third day of a Test with humidity and the temperature close to 40 degrees. But then also the mental strength it takes as well – getting nought in the first innings, and then being able to field for 100-plus overs, and then being able to spend the amount of time he did at the crease is credit to him as a youngster. It’s a good example for the rest of the players of Afghanistan – the standards of Test cricket, and the fitness you need to call upon, and the country,” he concluded.