Chief Executive of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah will be Kabul’s representative on Thursday to witness his country’s Test debut in Bengaluru against India.
Official sources said the cricket event marks a successful culmination of India’s sports diplomacy with Afghanistan which began after the fall of Taliban in 2001.
“This is the first Test match of Afghanistan after achieving Test status last year. India has been associated with the development of cricket in Afghanistan since 2001 when Afghanistan joined ICC,” said an official explaining that Delhi has tried to promote cricket as a unifying factor in the war-torn country.
The Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore will represent the Indian government in the event. The Afghan team which has been trained in India will be led by captain Asghar Stanikzai . The Indian side will be led by Ajinkya Rahane in the absence of captain Virat Kohli who is recuperating from a shoulder injury.
India has been a partner in Afghanistan’s two-decades long journey to Test cricket status and has provided training to promising players from the country at facilities in Greater Noida. India had extended support in construction of cricket stadium and grounds in Afghanistan.
Several Afghan one-day players like Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi have performed well in the IPL series in India. Afghanistan debuted in one-day cricket in 2009.