Afghanistan’s President has given the green light to the construction of a new 35,000-capacity cricket stadium in capital city Kabul with officials hoping the country can play their first-ever home Test matches.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has approved 120,000 sq metres of land in the Alokhail area of Kabul for the arena.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said construction of the stadium will commence soon, and will adhere to international standards with the country having been admitted as a Test nation in 2017. Afghanistan currently plays its ‘home’ games in India, due to domestic security concerns and the lack of international standard facilities.

The new Kabul stadium will include a five-star guest house, a standard swimming pool, indoor and outdoor academies, a health clinic and mosque.

ACB chairman Farhan Yusefzai said: “I am happy to announce that Kabul will be home to a standard state-of-the-art international cricket stadium where the fans will be able to watch their favourite cricketers play. “

“I express my special thanks to Mr President who has always supported the development of cricket and encouraged our players. After initial formalities, the construction of the stadium will also commence and we will ensure it is done with best quality.”

Afghanistan has played just four Test matches since it was admitted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) three years ago.

In June 2018, after acquiring Test status, Afghanistan adopted Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun, India as its ‘home’ venue. In May 2019, ACB requested the Indian cricket authorities for a new home stadium, with Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow provided.

According to Cricbuzz, Yusefzai added: “With the construction of this ground, we will be able to host international cricket and our people will watch international players playing at their ground in the centre of the capital Kabul.”

Images: Afghanistan Cricket Board