NEW DELHI: Afghanistan will play their maiden Test match in the southern Indian city of Bangalore from June 14 to 18, cricket officials announced Tuesday.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said it welcomed the opportunity to host its “friends” for their first Test since Afghanistan became a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year.
The war-torn nation´s team has played the majority of its home games in India, which supported its quest for Test status.
“It will be a historic day for Afghanistan and everybody is waiting for it,” Atif Mashal, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman, said after meeting his Indian counterparts in New Delhi.
“The support of BCCI to ACB over the last several years has been tremendous,” he added.
The one-off Test has been scheduled ahead of India´s tour of Ireland and England starting June 27.
ACB chief executive Shafiq Stanikzai said Afghanistan will provide “good preparation” to India for the England series.
India currently top the world Test rankings.
“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,” Stanikzai said.
“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.”
Afghanistan have emerged as a competitive international team in recent years with strong performances in the limited-overs formats, including two one-day series victories in Zimbabwe.
Last year, spinner Rashid Khan and former captain Mohammad Nabi became the first Afghans to be picked in the lucrative Indian Premier League auction.
Thirteen Afghan players are included in this year´s IPL auction on January 27 and 28 in Bangalore.
Afghanistan and Ireland were granted Test status in June last year by the ICC, becoming the 11th and 12th Test-playing nations.