Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world, claims all-rounder Mohammad Nabi

Ace all-rounder Mohammad Nabi celebrates a wicket during Afghanistan's seven-wicket win over Ireland. (AFP)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world, claims all-rounder Mohammad Nabi

  • Maiden Test win give Afghans confidence they can take on anyone.
  • Mohammad Nabi praises spin kings after win over the Irish.

LONDON: They might be Test cricket newcomers, but all-rounder Mohammad Nabi claimed that on their day Afghanistan can beat any Test side in the world. 

Nabi was speaking after helping his side claim their first Test win — a seven-wicket victory over Ireland — in just their second Test. Afghanistan, who lost their debut Test to India in just two days last year, joined an elite list of cricketing nations after winning their second five-day game.

Australia won their debut Test in 1877, and England and Pakistan won in their second Test outing.

That has Nabi dreaming that this is just the start for Afghanistan, as long as the batsmen give the bowling attack enough runs to defend on a consistent basis.

“It’s a historic day for whole of Afghanistan,” the 34-year-old said.  “Especially for those guys who bring cricket from zero to the Test cricket. We played two games and we won one.

“When you win then teams will tell you to come and play with them. Nobody plays a weak team. They might think that Afghanistan is weak but not so much that we can’t fight them.

“We have the world’s best spinners and we try to concentrate on our batting line-up. If we can put up a good score on board then we are confident of beating any team in the world.”

While it might be too soon to argue that Afghanistan can beat anyone, it is hard to overstate the significance of the win against Ireland. As with the Irish, Nabi’s team only achieved Test status two years ago, they only played their first ODI in 2009, and the confidence and class is clearly oozing throughout the squad. 

Rahmat Shah top-scored with 76 and Ihsanullah Janat hit an unbeaten 65 to lead Afghanistan’s successful chase of 147 in the opening session of day four against Ireland in Dehradun in India.

Shah, who hit his second 50 of the match after making 98 in Afghanistan’s first-innings score of 314, and Janat put on a match-winning stand of 139 for the second wicket.

Star leg-spinner Rashid Khan also played a key role in his team’s historic triumph after returning career-best figures of five for 82 to bowl out Ireland for 288 in their second innings.

Khan, along with fellow spinners Nabi and Waqar Salamkheil, accounted for 14 of the 20 Irish wickets to fall during the one-off match between the new boys.

Since overcoming the odds to compete in the 2010 World T20 in England, the Afghanistan team has managed to qualify for all the major international tournaments and now await their second appearance in the upcoming 50-over World Cup.

But Nabi insisted a Test win is special. “Every format is different. A Test has
a different flavour to it. We played a lot of T20 and one-day matches and won, but the Test win is first,” he said.

“The way our guys performed in batting and bowling, the kind of comebacks that we did — it shows we are ready for Test cricket.”


Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

Updated 22 July 2019
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Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

  • Princess Nourah thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future

RIYADH: Princess Nourah bint Saad has officially become the first Saudi woman to be president of a sports club. Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera reported recently that the princess had successfully acquired the Umbrian football club Spoleto.

Speaking at a press conference, the princess thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future. 

“Football is a family passion, and Italian football is followed all over the world. This is why I chose to invest in Umbria,” she said. 

Princess Nourah chose the team after considering several aspects. “Spoleto is a small, amateur football organization where it is possible to work with the aim of growing and aiming for promotion. But we cannot fail to consider the value and beauty of the city of Spoleto, which is famous throughout the world.” Spoleto is a member of Serie D of the Italian non-professional football association, Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.  The association represents more than 12,000 football players and 400 football teams across Italy and is considered the fourth-ranked league in the country. Under the princess’s presidency, the team aims to ascend to Serie C in the near future, and further in the long term.

Spoleto announced that they have formally registered for the Excellence Umbria 2019/2020 championship and the Regional Junior Championship 2019/2020.

This purchase marks the Saudi royal family’s second venture into sports club ownership. Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad co-owns English Premier League football club Sheffield United.