Afghanistan to make Test debut against India, but when?

For the one-off Test against Afghanistan, the BCCI could be looking for some days immediately after the series against South Africa that ends on February 24, 2018.

Afghanistan series doesn’t even figure in the proposed 2018-19 programme.   -  AP

As per the proposed 2019-2023 Future Tours Programme (FTP), India is scheduled to play three one-day internationals against Afghanistan in early 2022 and not a single match in any format (bilateral) before that. The three ODIs are part of the 306 days of international cricket (bilateral) India will be engaged in 37 Test matches (185 days), 67 ODIs and 54 Twenty20 matches) after IPL 2019.

And Afghanistan doesn’t even figure in the proposed 2018-19 programme. The above proposal will be finalised at an ICC meeting in February 2019.

“We need only five days for a Test match against Afghanistan. The government may be also pushing for it. There are some spare days and the one-off Test can be easily arranged,’’ said an office bearer of a BCCI member association.

READ: Afghanistan to make Test debut in India

After India’s full series in South Africa and England in 2018 – with an ODI and Twenty20 slotted in between against Ireland – it has been proposed to play a home series against South Africa (October- November, 3 Tests, 5 ODIs, 1 Twenty20) after which the national team will play Australia in Australia (4 Tests). It will also face New Zealand in New Zealand  (5 ODIs, 3 Twenty20) in November-January 2019 and a home series against Australia (5 ODIs, 2 Twenty20) and Zimbabwe (1 Test, 3 ODIs) in February-March 2019.

The IPL 2019 will prepare India for the ICC World Cup in England in June –July after which India will start the international season with a series in the West Indies (2 Tests and 3 ODIs and Twenty20 each). Thereafter, India will have long home season against South Africa (3 Tests), West Indies (3 ODIs and 3 Twenty20), Bangladesh (2 Tests, 3 Twenty20) Australia (5 ODIs and one Twenty20) and again South Africa (3 ODIs and 3 Twenty20). In between the Australia and South Africa home fixtures, India is scheduled to play two Tests, three ODIs and five Twenty20 matches in New Zealand.

READ: We requested BCCI to play the first Test, says ACB chief

So, for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, the BCCI could be looking for some days immediately after the series against South Africa that ends on February 24, 2018. India is scheduled to take part in a Twenty20 Tri-series in Sri Lanka in March 2018 and there could be a big gap before the start of IPL season 11.

The BCCI FTP proposal has also earmarked dates right across the four year cycle for the Caribbean and Sri Lanka Premier Leagues in Aug-Sept, South African T20 in Nov-Dec, Bangladesh Premier League in Dec-Jan, Pakistan Super League in February-March and a clean window for the IPL in April-May.

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