Important tour for the hosts as they try to move up the world rankings in both formats, says Roland Holder, WICB manager of cricket operations
Afghanistan will embark on a limited-overs tour of the Caribbean for the first time in June of this year, it was announced by the West Indies Cricket Board on Wednesday (March 29).
The tour will include three Twenty20 Internationals at Warner Park in St Kitts, followed by three One-Day Internationals at Darren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia. Afghanistan will play a tour game on May 30 before the first T20I on June 2. The ODI series will begin on June 9.
West Indies is currently No. 9 in the International Cricket Council ODI rankings while Afghanistan, which earned ODI status only in 2009, is at No. 10. The two teams last met during the group stage of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 held in India. Though West Indies ultimately finished as the winner of the tournament, its only loss came against Afghanistan, by a six-run margin in a thrilling game in Nagpur.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the Afghans to the Caribbean for this short series,” said Roland Holder, the WICB manager of cricket operations. “The series promises to be compelling, considering the result of the match between the two sides at the last ICC World Twenty20 in India, and Afghanistan’s gradual improvement over the last few years.”
Holder said the tour would help West Indies – which failed to qualify for the eight-team 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in England and Wales between June 1 and 18 – climb up the rankings in ODIs, keeping in mind the qualification race for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. England and the top seven ODI teams as of September 30 this year directly qualify for the marquee event, and West Indies is currently in danger of missing out on a spot. The ninth- and tenth-placed teams, however, will get a chance to get to the marquee event after a qualifier in 2018.
“It will also be an important series for our side, as they look to move up in the ICC world rankings in the two formats, and continue their quest to qualify for the 2019 ICC World Cup in England and Wales,” added Holder. “The series will also be an opportunity for our fans to come out and watch the games at convenient times, as all the matches will be contested during the evening hours. The T20Is will start at 7pm and the ODIs are all day-night, starting at 2.30pm.”
Afghanistan has been a fast-improving side and defeated Ireland 3-2 in an ODI series in Greater Noida earlier this month. Meanwhile, West Indies was recently beaten 3-0 by England at home but is looking to bounce back in another three-match home series, against Pakistan, next month.
May 30: Tour match, St Kitts
June 2: First T20I, St Kitts
June 3: Second T20I, St Kitts
June 5: Third T20I, St Kitts
June 9: First ODI, St Lucia
June 11: Second ODI, St Lucia
June 14: Third ODI, St Lucia
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