Afghanistan cricket team are all set to play it’s first ever Test match against India. The historic move was confirmed by the Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) and the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) on Tuesday. And now, India will host the Test from 14th to 18th June in Bengaluru, giving a huge boost to the sporting relations with the war-torn country.
However, behind the seemingly sunny developments is the clash of opinion and the ensuing drama that is going on within the BCCI.
As per reports by Times of India, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary informed that Bengaluru was chosen as the best-suited venue for the historic cricket match, owing to the neutral weather conditions of the place. It was confirmed by both the cricket boards that M. Chinnaswamy Stadium will be the chosen venue. Amitabh Choudhary said,
“Bengaluru because at that time of the year, there will be rains almost everywhere and where it will not be raining, there will be such heat that cricket will be practically impossible during day time. Considering all the factors Bengaluru was the finest choice.”
The BCCI had announced in December of 2017, that Bengaluru would be hosting Afghanistan’s maiden-entry into India to play their first-ever five-day cricket match.
The Test will be a one-off and the contest is named the Indo-Afghanistan Friendship Series. The series is scheduled to start 15 days after the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets over in May 2018, and well before India fly out for their long cricketing tour of England and Ireland.
BCCI’s internal clash and bad blood
However, it has been reported by the Deccan Chronicle that the clashes that have been going on within the BCCI, have returned to the fore, causing logjams in the cricketing board’s functionality. BCCI acting president CK Khanna, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, and senior member Rajiv Shukla, were reportedly not involved in the scheduling of the historic Test against Afghanistan.
The BCCI’s constitution of rules prescribes that any decision regarding the venue and the dates of international matches is to be taken by the tours and fixtures sub committee. While the BCCI president, secretary and treasurer are automatic members of the committee, Rajiv Shukla is also a part of that panel.
A senior BCCI official told PTI on Tuesday,
“Yes, neither secretary nor treasurer was kept in the loop about the decision as one needs to call a sub committee meeting as per protocol. The decision to play Afghanistan was taken at general body forum (SGM in December) and now the members were bypassed when date and venue is announced.”
Beginning of India-Afghanistan’s cricketing ties
Afghanistan and Ireland’s cricketing boards had become full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June of last year, taking the total number of ICC member countries from 10 to 12. Now the countries will be touring their neighbouring regions to initiate cricketing ties and start of their journey as full-fledged cricketing nations.
Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman, Shukrullah Atif Mashal, said that BCCI had accommodated in adding another layer of friendship to the countries’ invaluable relationship which is in it’s infancy. ACB chairman Mashal was sitting alongside ACB CEO Shafiq Asmat Stanikzai and BCCI officials, when he said,
“The historic friendship between India and Afghanistan cannot be denied. It goes back to centuries. I am glad that cricket is also added to it.”
“The support of BCCI to ACB over the last several years has been tremendous. Whether it was backing ACB in the ICC when our full membership was under consideration, making facilities available (for its players in India), we really recognise the support and we really appreciate it.”
Interestingly, the Afghanistan cricket team has on previous occasions, hosted it’s home games in India. And the most recent instance would be the series that Afghanistan played against Ireland in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi.
Afghanistan cricketers – Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi – were the first two cricketers from the war-ravaged region to be bought at the IPL auction last year in 2017.
Thirteen additional Afghanistan cricketers have enrolled themselves for the IPL auction, which is to be held on 27th and 28th January. While announcing the initiation of India-Afghanistan cricketing ties, ACB chairman mentioned that they have requested BCCI for another home-ground in India, besides the one in Greater Noida. Shukrullah Mashal said,