Mumbai: History was created in Bengaluru when India hosted Afghanistan in their first-ever Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday. Pulling out all stops to make this historic event a memorable affair, the BCCI hosted dignitaries from the Government of India and Afghanistan.
In attendance were Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Abdullah Abdullah and Indian Minister of State, Sports and Youth Affairs Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore. They greeted the two teams before the start of play. The BCCI invited former India great Salim Durrani, the only Indian cricketer to be born in Afghanistan, for the special occasion. Durani presented a special BCCI memento to Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai.
Reflecting on the historic event, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said, “I congratulate Afghanistan for becoming the 12th nation to play Test cricket. The Afghan players were among the top performers in the Indian Premier League and I am sure they will prove their mettle in the longest format too.”
“The BCCI had put in all their efforts and resources to stage this game and I am very happy at the outcome. Today, the India-Afghanistan relations have scaled a new peak,” he added.
BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, on the other hand, said, “Through cricket, the BCCI is pleased to provide a platform that further strengthens the historic bond between the two South Asian countries. The India-Afghanistan friendship is deep and cricket is a unifying factor. The BCCI has extended technical and infrastructural support to the Afghanistan Cricket Board and is delighted to see them play the longest format of the game.”
Afghanistan, who have fast established themselves as a force to reckon with in the shorter formats, have become the 12th side to feature in men’s Test cricket after Ireland debuted against Pakistan last month. Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June.