Afghanistan will make their Test debut against India in a one-off Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, the cricket boards of the two countries announced at a joint press conference in Delhi on Tuesday (January 16).
The match will take place from June 14 to 18.
Afghanistan will join the likes of Pakistan (Delhi, 1952), Zimbabwe (Harare, 1992) and Bangladesh (Dhaka, 2000) to have played their first Test against India.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India said they welcomed the opportunity to host their “friends” for their first Test since Afghanistan became a full member of the International Cricket Council last year.
While Afghanistan also have a training base in the United Arab Emirates, the BCCI have allowed Afghanistan’s senior men’s team to use the Greater Noida as their home base. The side’s ‘home’ Intercontinental Cup and World Cricket League matches were played there.
“It will be a historic day for Afghanistan and everybody is waiting for it,” said Atif Mashal, the Afghanistan Cricket Board chairman, after meeting his Indian counterparts in New Delhi. “The support of BCCI to ACB over the last several years has been tremendous.”
“It will be [a] tough challenge for Afghanistan against a mighty Indian team but a pleasant one and one that we will learn a lot from,” added Shafiq Stanikzai, ACB chief executive.
“Cricket has a bright future in [Afghanistan]. We have raw talent which needs exposure and our target is to be a competitive side in Test cricket in the coming three years,” said Stanikzai.
Afghanistan hold the Intercontinental Cup and will be competing as one of the favorites for a spot in the 2019 World Cup when they take part in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March 2018.
Last year, the International Cricket Council had announced Ireland and Afghanistan as the two newest cricketing nations to be awarded Test status.
When the news was announced, Stanikzai celebrated the promotion as a boost to the cricketing fortunes of the war-torn country. “For a nation like Afghanistan, it is a huge and remarkable achievement, the entire nation will be celebrating across all five regions and different provinces,” he said.
— Afghan Cricket Board (@ACBofficials) January 16, 2018
It has been a formidable rise for Afghanistan whose board was created 22 years ago in 1995. Closely competing with Ireland for dominance among the Associates, the South Asian nation, awarded Associate status in 2013, qualified for the 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.
Ireland, meanwhile, are set to play their first Test against Pakistan at Malahide from May 11 to 15, 2018.
Following their Test against Afghanistan, India will travel to Ireland for two T20 Internationals in late June — their first games there in 11 years — and proceed to England for three T20Is, as many ODIs and five Tests.