The BCCI yesterday rolled out the red carpet for war-ravaged Afghanistan by agreeing to host the country’s maiden Test match but chose to cold-shoulder a cricket-starved Pakistan in its latest Future Tours Programme (FTP).
Afghanistan, a team that has made rapid strides in international cricket despite the constant troubles back home, will play its first ever Test against India in 2019-2020, the final schedule for which will be worked out later.
On the other hand, Pakistan, which has been demanding bilateral cricket with India, was ignored at the Special General Meeting which resolved to play more against the likes of Australia, South Africa and England. India and Pakistan have not played bilateral cricket since 2012 due to political tensions between the two neighbours.
When asked why the new FTP does not say anything about playing Pakistan, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary replied, “It’s a question not embedded only to cricket and the BCCI but everybody. So, it’s futile attempting to answer the question.”
Afghanistan earned the Test status, alongside Ireland this June, realising their five-day cricket dream after impressive performances in ODIs and T20 Internationals.
“Afghans were scheduled to play their first Test in 2019 versus Australia but considering the historic relationship between India and Afghanistan, we decided to host their first Test,” said BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary after the Special General Meeting here today.
Atif Mashal, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman, was quick to thank the BCCI for the gesture.
“@ACBofficials and @BCCI have agreed that Afghanistan will play its first Test against India. The exact date and venue of the match will be shared in a joint press conference in due course. I personally thank BCCI board for the decision,” Mashal tweeted.