The Afghanistan national cricket team is the 12th Test cricket playing full member nation of the ICC. Cricket has been played in the country since the mid-19th century, but it is only in recent years that the national team has achieved some success at the international level. The Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed in 1995 and became an affiliate member of the ICC in 2001.
In June 2017, Afghanistan were granted full ICC membership (and, therefore, Test status). They achieve the full-member status after holding affiliate ICC membership from 2001 to 2013 and were the only affiliate member country to ever compete in a major ICC international cricket tournament. Afghanistan hold the world record for the highest ever T20 score, 278-3 vs Ireland in Dehradun on 23 February 2019.
Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Shahzad, and Asghar Afghan are some of the most prominent players for Afghanistan in all formats of the game.
Afghanistan at ICC World Cups
Afghanistan made their World Cup debut against Bangladesh in 2015 at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, Australia, where they lost by 105 runs. The team faced elite cricketing nations like Australia, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and England.
On 26 February 2015, Afghanistan won their first World Cup match against Scotland. The team, however, lost all their other games and were knocked out of the tournament in the opening round.
In the 1990s, cricket became popular among the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and the Afghanistan Cricket Board was formed there in 1995. Like all sports, cricket was initially banned by the Taliban, but it became an exception in 2000, when the Taliban approved it. The Afghanistan Cricket Federation was elected as an affiliate member of the ICC the following year.
In the 2011 Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament, Afghanistan failed to progress to the World Cup, but earned the ODI status for four years. Their first ODI was against Scotland in the 5th-place playoff, having previously beaten Scotland earlier in the tournament.
On 1 February 2010, Afghanistan played their first Twenty20 International against Ireland, which they lost by 5 wickets. On 13 February 2010, Afghanistan first defeated the United Arab Emirates by 4 wickets to make their way to the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies in April 2010. Later, the same day, they defeated Ireland by 8 wickets in the final of 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier.
Afghanistan played their first One Day International against a full ICC member nation in February 2012 against Pakistan at Sharjah. Afghanistan also took on Australia Cricket Team for a single ODI match at Sharjah in August 2012.
In July 2014, Afghanistan toured Zimbabwe to play their first full series against a full member. The 4-match ODI series finished 2-2. With this, Afghanistan entered the top 10 of the ICC ODI rankings for the first time.
In March 2013, Afghanistan received a boost after a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the development of Afghanistan cricket ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
The team visited Zimbabwe for a second time in October and registered a historic one-day international series win, handing Zimbabwe a 73-run defeat in Bulawayo to clinch the series 3-2.
They were also the first non-Test-playing country to win a multi-game bilateral ODI series against a Test side.
The Afghanistan cricket team later toured Bangladesh in September and October 2016 to play three ODIs. This was Afghanistan's first full series against a Test-playing side other than Zimbabwe and the first bilateral series between the two sides.
The team toured Zimbabwe again between January and February 2017 and won the ODI series 3-2.
The Afghanistan cricket team completed another tour in June 2017, this time facing the West Indies, in their first bilateral tour against a full member nation other than Zimbabwe.
On 22 June 2017, the ICC awarded Afghanistan the full Test status. The team played their first Test against India in late 2018 but were easily defeated.
In March 2019, Afghanistan achieved their first-ever Test match victory against Ireland in only their second test, becoming only the third team (after England and Pakistan) to do so.