Afghanistan made cricket history on Thursday as the war-torn country took on India for their first ever Test match, the five-day format considered the pinnacle of the sport. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter and congratulated the people of Afghanistan on the historic occasion. In a tweet, PM Modi wrote, “I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first international test match.” The Prime Minister further went on to give his best wishes to both the teams. “Glad that they have chosen to play the historic match with India. Best wishes to both teams,” he added. PM Modi further went on to add that Test match will help in strengthening ties between the two nations. “May sports continue to bring our people closer and strengthen ties,” he wrote.
I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first international test match. Glad that they have chosen to play the historic match with India. Best wishes to both teams! May sports continue to bring our people closer and strengthen ties.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 14, 2018
Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, Rajyavardhan Rathore, who was in attendance at the venue of the match and read out PM Modi’s wishes, went on to give his best wishes to both the teams in a tweet. “May the best team win! Delighted to be at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium where Afghanistan makes its debut in test cricket against India. Hope this game marks the beginning of a new inning for the people of Afghanistan and for our countries’ relationship,” he wrote on Twitter.
– BCCI (@BCCI) June 14, 2018
Before the start of the game at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, which was attended by a host of dignitaries, the Afghan players received their red Test caps.
— BCCI (@BCCI) June 14, 2018
Afghanistan achieved full member status of the International Cricket Council last year, becoming only the 12th Test team despite conflict at home which has forced them to train in India since 2015.
After learning cricket in refugee camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan have made giant strides, gaining one-day international status in 2009 and qualifying for their second 50-over World Cup in England and Wales next year.
They have also been part of four Twenty20 World Cups. Last week they secured a T20 series sweep over Bangladesh helped by teen Indian Premier League (IPL) sensation Rashid Khan.
Ajinkya Rahane, who is standing in as captain in place of Virat Kohli, won the toss and opted to bat first.
The hosts have picked their experienced spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, leaving left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav out of the starting line-up.
“Always an honour to captain India. We are not taking them lightly at all. All opponents are the same, and we wish to be ruthless here,” Rahane said.