Afghanistan will make their international Test debut in a one-off contest against India at Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy stadium from June 14-18, Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) jointly confirmed on Tuesday.
Afghanistan and Ireland were made full members in June last. In December last year, the Indian board agreed to host Afghanistan's debut Test. The two boards picked Bengaluru as the venue keeping in the mind monsoon season in the country.
"And where there will not be rain there will be such heat that cricket would be practically impossible during day time. All that factored in, Bangalore emerged as the finest choice before us. Also, the historic occasion may draw a lot of VVIPs for the Test match," said BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said on Tuesday, adding the event will be called 'Indo-Afghanistan Friendship Series', despite it being just one Test.
"As in the case of South Africa, when it re-entered international cricket in 1991, the Indian cricket board thought it fit to request Afghanistan to visit India for their first ever Test match.
Afghanistan and India have been traditional friends, even diplomatically, for ages."
ACB chairman Shukrullah Atif Mashal said they "appreciate and recognise" the tremendous support of BCCI to Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been hosting their home games in India and most recently played a series against Ireland in Greater Noida. Mashal also revealed, that now being a full member, they had requested for another ground in India and their request has been agreed in principal. "The Afghanistan cricketers and fans are impatiently waiting for the Test match," he said.
ACB CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai said Afghanistan would provide India a good preparation for their tour to England. "It will be a tough challenge for us, but also a pleasant one. This was the dream of every single Afghan player to play their first Test match with India in India. Bengaluru is a good option for us," Stanikzai said.
"We have a comprehensive domestic circuit. We have had some tremendous talent in under-19 level. To not been able to host international matches is a big setback for us -- cricket wise and financially as well, but there is nothing we can do about it for now."
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri assured Indian players will be given sufficient time to recover. "There is 15 day gap between the IPL and the Afghanistan Test match. And there will be gap of 4-5 days before the team leaves for England tour," he said.