Sports desk, December 11: Afghanistan will play their inaugural Test match against India in 2018. Rahul Johri, the BCCI chief executive officer, confirmed that India would host Afghanistan, and that the two boards would work out the venue and the dates shortly.Since being inducted as an ICC Full Member in June, alongside Ireland, Afghanistan have been looking for an opponent to play their maiden Test match against.
Ireland have already confirmed that they will play their first Test against Pakistan in May 2018.
Initially, Zimbabwe were scheduled to play Afghanistan in the UAE before travelling to Bangladesh early next year. However, Zimbabwe Cricket informed the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) that it wanted to focus on the World Cup Qualfiers in March and therefore not increase its players’ workload.
This October the ACB, led by its chairman Atif Mashal and CEO Shafiqullah Stanikzai, met Johri in Mumbai, requesting India to consider playing against Afghanistan. “The ACB requested us to play their first Test match,” Johri said, after attending the BCCI’s special general meeting in Delhi on Monday. “The BCCI has agreed.”
It is understood that both boards will meet in a week’s time in Dubai to finalise the schedule. With India travelling overseas for most of 2018, the Afghanistan Test is likely to be scheduled ahead of India’s trip to Australia in late 2018.
For the moment, the ACB is excited. “It will be a historic Test match,” Stanikzai said. “We would like to thank the BCCI for granting this opportunity to us and accepting our request.”