On 14th of June 2018, the Afghanistan cricket team is set to play their inaugural Test match against Team India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) was awarded Test status by ICC in June 2017. Here’s a short preview of the match with a look into the potential team line ups and players to watch out for.
Afghanistan will come into this match full of confidence after their success in the recent limited overs series that they played against Bangladesh. Team India however will miss their regular captain Virat Kohli due to injury and will have vice captain Ajinkya Rahane leading a strong Indian side which has been playing very well in this format of the game.
Squad selection from;
Team India: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur.
Team Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (c), Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Ihsanullah Jannat, Rahmat Shah, Nasir Jamal, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Zahir Khan, Hamza Hotak, Syed Ahmad Sherzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar Momand, Mujeeb ur Rahman.
This match is a historic moment for Afghanistan Cricket as after a lot of struggle and wait they finally earned themselves Teat status by the ICC. Playing the world’s No. 1 ranked side India, they have a challenge ahead of them – Not a bad birth into the most challenging format of the game!
The key battle?
Both the teams have tremendous depth in the spin department with India having experienced spin-duo Ashwin and Jadeja leading the spin attack whereas Afghanistan have their hero Rashid Khan who single-handedly is winning matches for his national side across all limited overs formats. Assisting Rashid are Mujeed-ur-Rahman and Mohammed Nabi. The trio from Afghanistan has good experience of the Indian conditions which will help them perform well.
Key Player to watch out for:
This will surely be Rashid Khan, the one-man army of his team. Rashid is to Afghanistan what Kohli is to India. And in absence of Virat Kohli all eyes will be on this upcoming talented teenager. In his 4 first class matches that he has played, Rashid took 35 wickets and his best bowling figure was 74 for 8. After his IPL performance he has gained lot of attention and expectations will be high to see what he can do in this format of the game. As an Indian team supporter you will watch out for how our team and players set strategies up against the proficient and skill full Rashid Khan.
What can we expect from Team India?
Rahane has the capability of leading the team in absence of the regular captain, Virat Kohli and has show this in the OST when given the responsibility. The concern is in the batting department which lacks experience and here is where Virat Kohli the batsman will be missed.
Spinners Ashwin and Jadeja are also playing after a long time and they may be a little rusty and not in their usual flow. Also the changes in the team line up are creating loop-holes. First Dinesh Karthik replaced the regular wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha who misses out due to an injury and then Mohammed Shami being replaced by Navdeep Saini. Shami misses out as he fails to clear the compulsory YO-YO fitness test.
The Bharat Army welcome Afghanistan to Test Cricket and wish them and Team India the best of luck!