Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said it’s a matter of great pride that Afghanistan has chosen to play its maiden Test match against India, which stands shoulder-to-shoulder in its cricketing journey.

The Afghanistan team, who have been impressive in the shorter formats, will make their Test debut at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru from Thursday.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will be at the venue to watch the match.

“It is a matter of great pride and immense pleasure that Afghanistan has chosen to play its maiden test match with India,” Modi said in a letter to the Afghan cricket team.

Hailing the feat achieved by Afghanistan, Modi said it had come in “challenging and difficult” circumstances.

This, he said, reflects the indomitable Afghan spirit to overcome all challenges and realise aspirations for a prosperous, stable, united and a peaceful nation.

“Today, cricket is a unifying force for the people of Afghanistan. India takes pride in being shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghanistan in this journey. It is an honour for India to host the Afghan national team at home ground in Greater Noida and Dehradun,” Modi said.

India has also been associated with the development of cricket in Afghanistan since 2001 when the latter joined the International Cricket Council.

It had also helped the country construct cricket stadiums.

Several Afghan cricket players received training and coaching from Indian coaches in their formative years.

Players like Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi have won hearts of millions of people in India through their performance in the IPL.