Dinesh Karthik says he is honoured to play against Afghanistan in the country's first ever Test. Photo: Reuters / Peter Cziborra

BANGALORE, India - India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik has praised Afghanistan's rise to the top of the sport under tough circumstances, saying it was an honour to face the South Asian nation in their landmark first test starting on Thursday.

Afghanistan will play India, the top-ranked test nation, after becoming full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year. They are coming off a commanding Twenty20 series win over Bangladesh this month and Karthik paid tribute to their inspiring journey.

"It's been beautiful," Karthik told reporters on Tuesday "Their journey has been an inspiration for international cricket. Not many knew they play... We all know what a tough place it is and the kind of turmoil they go through and despite that, they are able to inspire people with their performances." 

Meanwhile, Scotland's shock one-day international win over England has boosted their chances of securing test-playing status according to the country's cricket board. Scotland registered their first victory over their neighbours at Edinburgh on Sunday, bowling England out for 365 after posting their highest score of 371 for five.

"I can see us getting there in the next couple of years," Tony Brian, chairman of Cricket Scotland, told the BBC. "We're so close to our goal of full member status now"

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has 12 full members, with Ireland and Afghanistan promoted in June last year. The ICC has reduced the number of teams at the 2019 World Cup to 10 from 14, making it far more difficult for associate nations to qualify.

"The ICC set strict criteria for us to meet for full member status and we're only two away," Brian added. "We probably need one more win against a top nation and our women's team, who are also rapidly improving, need to do well at a World Cup qualifier."


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