As Shamarh Brooks scored a ton to help West Indies close in on a win against Afghanistan in the one-off Test, Afghanistan spinner Zahir Khan admitted that the West Indies batsman did make life difficult for them. “He played well because he took time to settle down. He was often beaten by Rashid (Khan), Amir Hamza and me, but he did not rush things, nor did he play rough shots. That approach helped him get a big score,” he said after the end of day’s play.
After a flawless knock of 111, Brooks was cleaned up by Hamza. But by then, West Indies had already managed a modest first-innings lead. “He looked set, so we wanted the other batsmen to take strike, because it was getting difficult to dismiss him,” Zahir said.
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Afghanistan was outsmarted in every department, and Zahir treats it as part of the game. “Cricket is such a game where things can sway either way. We must praise West Indies for the way they played. Our batsmen hurried a little and made some mistakes. But West Indies played good cricket overall,” said the chinaman bowler.
After losing the ODI series, Afghanistan came from behind to win the T20I series 2-1. But stepping into Test cricket, the side looked clueless in the middle. However, for Zahir, shifting to a different format is not an issue. “It is not a factor for an international cricketer. Adjusting to various formats is not an issue for us. They just played better cricket,” he said.
Ever since attaining Test status in 2017, this is Afghanistan’s fourth Test outing. And Zahir feels an improvement in his country’s domestic setup can help develop the Test acumen of the players. “Afghanistan’s domestic cricket is developing now and we need to make it stronger. That will help us improve our temperament for the longer format. We have to be stronger, so that we fare well in Tests. We get around 10 to 12 first-class matches a year and the board is trying to increase the number. It is a bit difficult initially, our target is to improve.”
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