PM salutes indomitable spirit of Afghanistan on Test debut

KL Rahul Hardik Pandya Can

A day before Afghanistan's debut in the world of Test cricket, India skipper Ajinkya Rahane said playing Test cricket was always special and it was an honour for his team to be a part of the historic tie.

Afghanistan received recognition from the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001 and are now the 12th Test-playing nation in the world.

It has been nearly 11 years since Dinesh Karthik made his Test debut for India and come July 14, the wicketkeeper-batsman will don the whites of his country once again for only the 24th time.

There is a distinct advantage of having Rashid Khan in the team as Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons feels all the spotlight which the star spinner has garnered has allowed his lesser-known colleagues to prepare peacefully for the historic one-off Test against India. We have limited players from different provinces but when they perform we give them a chance in our teams like A team and development squad. A skilful leg-break bowler, he has stood up to the challenge in both ODIs and t20, not to mention his remarkable success in the IPL (Indian Premier League). "We also request other test cricketing nations to arrange regular series with Afghanistan", he added.

Afghanistan's captain Asghar Stanikzai said morale among team members was good and they were positive. that no disrespect to Afghanistan though.

However, this does not work as Dhawan, who has played alongside Rashid in IPL and has faced the Afghan spinner in the nets many times; dominated over the bowler completely.

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Partners in earning the Test membership, Ireland had a rather celebrated start to Test cricket when they ran Pakistan close in a home Test last month.

For the Afghans, Ahmadzai was the pick of the bowlers with a couple of wickets while Wafadar, Rashid and Mujeeb contributed with one wicket apiece.

And while the Indian team got off to a strong start before rain interrupted play on Thursday, this is one match whose significance will go beyond the score.

And Indian batsman Karun Nair, famed for his triple century in his third Test against England in 2016, cast doubt on Stanikzai's claim of spin superiority. "Skill-wise, it won't make a difference, but our attitude [towards training] matters, if you have to make a quick switch in terms of our mindset from T20s to Test cricket".

Afghanistan have also been part of four Twenty20 World Cups. "We won't take them (Afghanistan) lightly", Rahane said.

"They attacked us in the morning, especially the spinners, and were successful in scoring quickly", Ahmadzai said. The likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were hit for runs in one-day style.

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