Afghanistan v Australia, only ODI, Sharjah

Afghanistan ready for 'huge moment'

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

August 24, 2012

Comments: 53 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Afghanistan's Nawroz Mangal and Michael Clarke unveil the one-off ODI trophy, Sharjah, August 23, 2012
This will be the first match of any format between Australia and Afghanistan © UAE Cricket Board
August 25-26, 2012
Start time 1800 (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

Ten years ago, the idea of a one-day international between Australia and Afghanistan seemed about as plausible as playing cricket on the moon. But Afghanistan's cricket progress has been one of the most remarkable success stories in the game's recent history and now they have a chance to play Australia for the first time. The one-off match will be Afghanistan's second ODI against an ICC full member and Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said when he announced the fixture last month that he hoped it would help the development of the Afghanistan team.

"Everyone in world cricket have been really impressed with how cricket has flourished in Afghanistan, despite its pressing national problems," Sutherland said at the time. "As an ICC member, CA strongly supports world cricket's ambition for cricket to continue to develop as a global sport and that, combined with the strong relationships between our two countries, encouraged us to look at how we might recognise and encourage Afghanistan by playing them on the field."

Australia are expected to win the match but their captain Michael Clarke was careful not to underestimate Afghanistan before the game, noting that they would be more familiar with the conditions, whereas Australia have just come from a tour of England and a cold winter back home. The Afghanistan captain Nawroz Mangal said the match would be "a huge moment" for all of his players.

There is another reason this fixture is significant: it is rare, if not unprecedented, for a one-day international to be played across two days. The extreme heat in the UAE forced a rethink of the playing times for a 50-over contest and to avoid the worst of the sun, it was decided that Australia's ODIs against Afghanistan and Pakistan would start at 6pm and would be scheduled to finish at 1.45am. It is not so much day-night cricket as night-morning cricket.

Form guide (Complete matches, most recent first)

Afghanistan LWLLW
Australia LLLLW

Watch out for

The legspinner Samiullah Shenwari is Afghanistan's leading wicket taker in one-day internationals, with 27 victims at 26.66. He also doesn't mind the conditions in Sharjah, where he has played five of his 22 ODIs, and where he picked up his best figures of 4 for 31 against Canada. The Australians will be a stiffer challenge, but on a pitch expected to offer some turn he could prove a tricky customer.

Glenn Maxwell will become Australia's 196th one-day international player and the sixth man to debut for them in the format this year. In 2010-11, he broke the record for the fastest half-century in Australian domestic one-day history, with a 19-ball effort for Victoria, and he will provide some strikepower in the lower middle order. He is athletic in the field and will enjoy bowling on the turning Sharjah surface.

Team news

Afghanistan have named a 15-man squad, with their captain Nawroz Mangal back in the mix after he missed their most recent matches in Ireland in July.

Afghanistan (possible) 1 Karim Sadiq, 2 Javed Ahmadi, 3 Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 4 Nawroz Mangal (capt), 5 Najibullah Zadran, 6 Mohammad Nabi, 7 Asghar Stanikzai, 8 Samiullah Shenwari, 9 Gulbodin Naib, 10 Dawlat Zadran, 11 Shapoor Zadran

Australia have named their starting XI ahead of time. Maxwell will make his international debut and Clarke has promoted himself to No.3. The four players to miss out from within the squad were Callum Ferguson, Daniel Christian, Steven Smith and Alister McDermott.

Australia 1 Matthew Wade (wk), 2 Dave Warner, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Michael Hussey, 5 David Hussey, 6 George Bailey, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 James Pattinson, 11 Xavier Doherty

Pitch and conditions

"The wicket looks quite hard, there's no grass on it at all," Clarke said on the day before the match. "I think as the game goes on there'll probably be a bit more spin throughout the game."

The weather can be summed up in one word: scorching. Even late at night the temperature is not expected to dip below 34C.

Stats and trivia

  • This is Afghanistan's second ODI against a full member of the ICC; they lost their first by seven wickets to Pakistan in Sharjah in February
  • Although most of their games have been against fellow associate members, Afghanistan have an impressive ODI record, having won 12 of the 22 matches they have played
  • The No.3 position has been a problem for Australia in ODIs recently; in the past year they have used six batsmen there for a combined average of 21.13


    "This will be a huge moment for every single one of us, playing against the mighty Australians."
    Nawroz Mangal, the Afghanistan captain

    "They've played a lot of cricket over the last couple of weeks in preparation for the T20 World Cup. It's an opportunity for them to come out with nothing to lose and plenty to gain."
    Australia's captain Michael Clarke

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (August 27, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

ICC propear ather one day matches for Afghanistan with full membr shep countries

Posted by Meety on (August 26, 2012, 8:11 GMT)

@Smith Robertson - the impressive aspect is that cricket was not played in any organised manner in Afghanistan 10yrs ago. As recently as 8yrs ago they were in the WCL 7 with teams like Germany. They are the only Affiliate member of the ICC to have ODI status. So their 12/22 record needs to be looked at in a different light, also the FACT is, the that technically Afghanistan does NOT have Associate status, so this makes their performances all the more meritorious!

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 22:20 GMT)

"Although most of their games have been against fellow associate members, Afghanistan have an impressive ODI record, having won 12 of the 22 matches they have played" - I don't understand why the writer says this record is impressive because 20 of those matches were against associates plus they still lost 8 to them. Its a below par record not an impressive record infact, Ireland record is much much impressive than this.

Posted by Meety on (August 25, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

Top effort Afghanistan. They did really well even without their best bowler!

Posted by Meety on (August 25, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

Very dissappointed that Hamid Hasan's injury has not appeared to have recovered in time from this match. He would of guaranteed that Oz would of had to work for their runs. Good luck Afgani's, I don't want you to win, but run us close! == == == Given Oz's involvement in the Allied forces in Afghanistan, which has directly resulted in Afghan people being able to play elite sport, I'd like the Oz gov't to further sponsor an annual or every 2nd yr, some sort of ODI series between the 2 sides. Maybe all it has to be is invite them as the 3rd leg of a tri-series. I think it would do a lot of good in ways that would go beyond cricket/sport!

Posted by rickyvoncanterbury on (August 25, 2012, 14:12 GMT)

its an honour and a privalege for Australia toi play Afganistan, i only wish one day the inventers of the game can match the humility of the afganis.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 13:51 GMT)

Good Luck Afghanistan wish you guys all the best

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

Guys, where is Hamid Hassan???

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 13:42 GMT)


Posted by MENDIS_Forever on (August 25, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

All the best to Afgan brothers! -From Srilankan fan.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

Boom boom afghan tigars. Long live afghanistan

Posted by rock.rockyin on (August 25, 2012, 12:26 GMT)

All the best from Indian fans

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

It's a great moment for Afghans as all Afghans are counting minutes for this glorious event. we r confident that we afghans will prove that we are worth to play against a super cricket team in the world. Millions thanks to Australians for giving us an opportunity. We will for ever remember it as it brings smiles on our downtrodden faces..

Posted by hyclass on (August 25, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

@Sam Matthews...history would suggest that leg spinners fair better on quicker wickets than slow ones. Wrist spinners were more prevalent in Australia due to the quicker bouncier wickets that gave bounce and pace to the turn. Generally,slow wickets suit those among wrist spinners,who tend towards top spin,which can give its own pace off the wicket. Kumble is an excellent example of this genre,his height,pace,overspin and accuracy being key weapons. Guys like MacGill,a big side spinner of the ball, flourished on quicker wickets and struggled on the slower ones.The assessments of the UAE wickets that I have read lead me to believe that the wickets in these games will not be traditional sub continental tracks and will in fact have some pace and bounce in which case,Shenwari might have success.I would expect that the Australian pace battery might be too much for the Afghan batsmen at this point.At any rate,we will all be wishing the Afghan team well and expecting a polished Aus performance

Posted by makeshift on (August 25, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

We see all the sad part in the news about Afghans. It will be a joyous occasion to see the Afghans play the might Aussies

I wish them all the luck . Lads enjoy the day

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

Good luck Afghanistan from New Zealand! It's great to see cricket developing there. I'm pretty sure how the Black Caps are faring against spin right now they would probably struggle against Afghanistan. Be interesting to see how aus go against the spinners. I like the sound of this leggie Shenwari even if he's not the best in the world a leggie on a slow turning pitch could cause a few headaches! Anyway best of luck

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

Good luck Afghanistan from New Zealand! It's great to see cricket developing there. I'm pretty sure how the Black Caps are faring against spin right now they would probably struggle against Afghanistan. Be interesting to see how aus go against the spinners. I like the sound of this leggie Shenwari even if he's not the best in the world a leggie on a slow turning pitch could cause a few headaches! Anyway best of luck

Posted by hyclass on (August 25, 2012, 10:49 GMT)

@Baundele...the teams that are known to be 'big teams' are those with a significant and powerful history and culture. Test Cricket is 135 years old and began when Australia was still a colony of the British Empire. It was to be 24 more years before Australia became an independent nation. These sporting competitions and some early success were enough to give impetus towards that independence. Sth Africas dominance and power were to the fore just before and after their international banishment. India,Pakistan,NZ and SL have all been more recent arrivals as powerful playing nations and their success cultivated and admired around the globe.More than the cricket itself or the geography,it is about a shared ethos that binds through sport. Afghanistan should expect to take those same steps that all nations have taken before it. Its financial and social well being are bound in these steps.Playing too much too soon has always proven counter productive.While exceptions exist,probability rules.

Posted by hyclass on (August 25, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Congratulations to Afghanistan and good fortune in this game. The entire world takes an interest in your countries success and recognises the difficulties like Pakistan that must be overcome domestically. I have always enjoyed tours by sub-continental sides and believe the 1992 World Cup in which 87000 cricket fans (me among them) watched Eng and Pak do battle in the final is testament to the appreciation of a great contest in this part of the world. Maxwell has been excellent for Victoria and his 1st class numbers and strike rate demonstrate his capabilities when the opportunity to build an innings is availed. As with any player and batting down the order,his average falls as the S/R climbs. His bowling,with a reasonable average and modest S/R suggest he can contain but lacks penetration. He falls into the Andrew Symonds category without the versatility of medium pacers to call on. Playing for your country is always an honour and I hope that his performances supersede the publicity.

Posted by Baundele on (August 25, 2012, 10:12 GMT)

It is actually a shame that we need to term this event a 'huge moment'. For the sake of cricket so called big teams should play regularly with less strong teams. Playing against stronger oppositions helps greatly in improving the quality of a team.

Posted by bala_sachin on (August 25, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

hoping soon for india vs afganistan match

Posted by sonti on (August 25, 2012, 9:59 GMT)

It is great to see at last Afghanistan is competing in a cricket match. I hope the Afghanis will give tough fight to the Aussies as they have competed will against the pak team in March.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

get the former captain and legend ricky who not yet retired from odi that settles down the problem aussies selectors poor job wen u dropped ricky

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

i will support Afganistan today.hope Afgan will win the match.Best of luck from Bangladesh.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 7:57 GMT)

It is a big proud for Afghans that in a very short time the have reached the peaks of Cricket. it is a big winning for Afghanistan's Cricket. longlife to Afghanistan

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

Good Luck, at least get better performance.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

Best of Luck Afghanistan .The big blow for Afghanistan team is that Hamid Hassan is injured and he won't be playing against Aussies .

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Well! Afghanistan Cricket Team Best of luck, you guys are not going to lose any thing. Go to the ground with a cool mindset, every body should play their role as per game requirement, with unity, respect to the game and players and opposite team. We watched them for years on our TV sets and admire them, now our dream come true, we got a chance to play them and it's a win already. So just go play and enjoy the "Huge Moment".

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 6:48 GMT)

Well! Afghanistan Cricket Team Best of luck, you guys are not going to lose any thing. Go to the ground with a cool mindset, every body should play their role as per game requirement, with unity, respect to the game and players and opposite team. We watched them for years on our TV sets, and admire them, now our dream come true and we already won. So just go play and enjoy the "Huge Moment".

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 6:47 GMT)

Thanks to the Australian Cricket Board for giving a chance of playing against them..We are hopeful of a great performance from our team...Wish them best of luck..

Posted by Hammond on (August 25, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

It will be interesting to see how the Aussie team plays spin.

Posted by Pablo123 on (August 25, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

Wow AUS have lost 4 in a row.......

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

As an Aussie I just want to see the Afghanis play as well as they can and hopefully it's a competitive match, you never know what can happen in this funny old game.

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 25, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

also, not that australia wont be respecting the opposition, but they need to be ruthless and respectful at the same time to the afghan bowlers particularly the spinners

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 25, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

this IS a huge moment for afganistan, for the country aswell as the sport in the country and that needs to be acknowledged good luck to them and good on them. hope maxwell goes well. ferguson should have played instead of bailey and mcdermott should have been given a debut. cant help but marvel at the depth australia have

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

I Hope Afghanistan when this match , and Thanks for Australia giving chance to Afghanistan playing against them.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

I do Hope that Afghan players will learn how to play against the big teams ....& they will carefully see the deference between them & the big teams.... If they gets some positive knowledge from them then i am sure one day Afghanistan will be a great team as like Australia ...... & they will call Beg Nation of Cricket world.

Posted by zenboomerang on (August 25, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

The team is pretty much how I thought it would go, though Pattinson hasn't really shown much & looks out of his depth, lacking the right approach to his bowling in ODI's... Maybe just giving some experience to Patto - though 3 pacemen on turning pitches doesn't seem balanced... Would have prefered Christian who has a better allround game atm... Been a bit tough with McKay & Hastings whom are good ODI bowlers being out with injuries - can't wait to see both back on the paddock this summer...

Posted by zenboomerang on (August 25, 2012, 5:33 GMT)

Watson?... Their is no Watto in the ODI series... Not known as a batsman who handles spin well & as a bowler was fairly below average in Eng... Needs to freshen up & hopefully fires in the T20's, for which he 'was' selected...

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

Thanks for the ICC and Thanks for Cricket Australia in helping to organise this. It's definitely demonstrating the Spirit of the Game and keeping this great game alive!

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

Love u AFGHAN team, InshaAllah u'll do ur best to come with good results.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

It is great moment for all Afghani cricket funs, but one thing which worry me, watching this game I will not be able to go to my office tomorrow due to sleeplessness. we all expecting good game from Afghan side.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

why do we keep persisting with wade as the opener he is not adam gilchrist , wade should be at 6 with christian at 7 . ferguson should be opening with warner . bailey should not be there no wonder we are not number one anymore

Posted by jezzastyles on (August 25, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

I hope Afghanistan compete well in this one - good for the game of cricket, we want the "minnows" to develop into strong sides and eventually join the test ranks. On a completely different note, why do most cricketers train in shorts (I've never seen an international player in shorts), shouldn't they be wearing full-length cricket pants, train like they would play an actual game? Just an observation, but nearly every AUS cricketer I see wears shorts (unless it's the middle of winter).

Posted by landl47 on (August 25, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Very exciting for Afghanistan, and Australia is to be congratulated for playing them. I hope it's a good game. The time of the games is great for me- I live in the central US (our time is CDT) so the games start at 9am our time. @Heisenburg: Watson isn't part of the squad for the ODI games. He'll be back for the T20s.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 4:25 GMT)

Dear RandyOZ , I think you are correct ,It's good to see Australia playing Afghanistan. And I am sure If England would have played Aghanistan here then I doubt whether England would have won that match or not, considering England's record on slow and turning pitches..

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

welcome Afganistan in to the big leauge.Big Brothers are ready to greet you in the manner they knows best

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

thanks to Ausis for giveing the chance of playing them, it is not important for me if Afghanistan lose the mutch, just we want from Afghan cricketers to play well, and finish the game so close.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

We are really thankful of Australia giving chance to Afg to play with them...I really appreciate this decision from Australia cricket Board... i hope They give us more chance to play them more and more... THANK YOU AUSTRALIA. and best of LUCK Afghanistan...

Posted by huttse96 on (August 25, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

its great Australia help associates by playign afghanistan and ireland! but why not help your cloest ranked assoicate in Papua New Guiena wouldnt that make more sense?

Posted by Heisenburg on (August 25, 2012, 3:21 GMT)

No Shane Watson? He's probably just being rested.

Posted by   on (August 25, 2012, 3:13 GMT)

its just a practice match for australia ahead of pakistan tour. serves the purpose of giving afghanistan an international match as well.

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 25, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

It's great to see Australia giving the Associates a crack at a match, rather than poaching them all like England does.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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