New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said it will host Afghanistan for its first ever Test in India. The match is likely to be organised in the upcoming home season between October 2018 and September 2019.

The move is a big boost to the Afghanistan Cricket Board. In June, Afghanistan and Ireland were approved as full members by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and became cricket’s 11th and 12th Test-playing nations.

India ranks number one in the latest ICC Test rankings.

BCCI, in a statement on Tuesday, said it has always stood by the Afghanistan Cricket Board and the invitation ties in with the steps it has taken for the development of the game within and outside India.

Amitabh Choudhary, acting secretary, BCCI, said, “Afghanistan have proved their mettle in the short format of the game and now they have an opportunity to prove themselves in the longer format. BCCI has a deep bond with the Afghanistan Cricket Board and I am thrilled at the development."

The game of cricket can be further enriched when more and more countries take part, said Vinod Rai, chairman of the Committee of Administrators, running the BCCI.

“I am delighted that the BCCI has agreed to extend a helping hand to Afghanistan and will formally welcome them into the Test arena by playing their first-ever Test," Rai added.

In 2015, BCCI and the Afghanistan Cricket Board signed a memorandum of understanding with the Greater Noida Authority to use their sports complex as the Afghan’s cricket team’s home ground. Afghanistan played five ODIs and three T20Is at the venue against Ireland in March 2017.

Cricketers from Afghanistan including leg spinner Rashid Khan and former captain Mohammad Nabi took part in the last edition of popular T20 tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Columnist and sports writer Ayaz Memon said that Afghanistan had earned their spurs by performing well in the shorter formats of the game. “This is a big boost for the Afghanistan Cricket Board. BCCI is one of the richest and largest cricket boards in the world and hosting Afghanistan in a Test match only adds more weight to their cause," he added.

The two boards will work out the schedule and announce details of the Test shortly.

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