Dehradun is Afghanistan’s second home ground

The picturesque Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium will be the second base of the Afghans, the first being Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida.

The Afghans will make their Test debut against India in June in Bengaluru.   -  ICC

 

The picturesque Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Dehradun will soon host international cricket, thanks to Afghanistan. Inaugurated in 2016 in the Raipur area of the hilly terrain, the stadium has been named Afghanistan's second home ground in India — the first being Shaheed Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida — and it is likely to host the first international fixture in June, when the Afghans take on Bangladesh for a three-match series.

In January, while visiting India, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman, Atif Mashal, had told Sportstar that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has agreed to give ACB another home ground, hinting that they would zero in on Dehradun as the climate would suit the players.

READ: Bengaluru to host historic India-Afghanistan Test

On Thursday, ACB CEO Shafiq Stanikzai confirmed the development to this publication. “Dehradun will be our second home in India. We will, in all likelihood, play Bangladesh there. But it is not absolutely finalised," Stanikzai said.

An amount of Rs 237 crore was spent in giving in the stadium an international feel. While it has hosted a lone Ranji Trophy game last season, it has remained alien to international cricket.

District Cricket Association, Dehradun's vice-president, Dheeraj Khare, too confirmed the development. “There hasn't been any official announcement on this yet, but it is true that Afghans will play games here," Khare said.

Even though Dehradun will host matches, it is learnt, ACB will continue using the Greater Noida facility as its home base. "The venue at Greater Noida will remain. As far as UAE is concerned, it is too early to comment on anything," ACB chief Mashal had told this publication in January.

The Afghans will make their Test debut against India in June in Bengaluru. But now, with the ACB deciding to walk uphill, the cricket enthusiasts in the region will have something to cheer about.

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