Afghanistan A have been roped in to replace Australia A in the ‘A’ series triangular tournament to be played in South Africa later this month, Cricket South Africa said on Monday (July 17). It will be the first tour by any representative Afghanistan side of South Africa.
Australia A pulled out of the tournament – also including India A and South Africa A — earlier this month following the ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the players. The tri-series therefore had been thrown in jeopardy and there had been suggestions that India and South Africa would instead play a bilateral 50-over series ahead of the two four-day games next month.
Now, with the Afghanistan Cricket Board accepting CSA’s invitation, the tri-series will progress as planned, with the first match slated for July 26 between Afghanistan and India in Pretoria.
“We are delighted that Afghanistan have accepted our invitation and look forward to welcoming them to our country for the very first time,” said Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive. “Afghanistan were deservedly granted Full Member status at the ICC annual conference last month after showing impressive growth in recent years.”
Lorgat added, “They are a passionate cricket nation and I expect the Afghanistan A team to compete strongly against our A team and India A in the upcoming tri-series.”
Shafiqullah Stanikzai, the Afghanistan chief executive, was understandably thrilled with the development. “We are very pleased to accept Cricket South Africa’s invitation to participate in the upcoming triangular series. This will be our first-ever visit to South Africa and I am certain that this will give Afghanistan ’A’ team very good exposure to competitive cricket.”
The three teams will play each other twice before the top two advance to the August 8 final at the Tuks Oval in Pretoria, which will host all games apart from the opener, to be played at Gronkloof.
The two four-day matches between India A and South Africa A will be staged in Benoni (Aug 12-15) and Potchefstroom (Aug 19-22).
Tri-series fixtures (all matches at Tuks Oval except opener):
July 26: Afghanistan v India (Groenkloof)
July 28: South Africa v India
July 30: South Africa v Afghanistan
August 1: India v Afghanista
August 3: South Africa v India
August 5: South Africa v Afghanistan
August 8: Final