IND vs AFG: Only Test, Preview- Camaraderie set to turn into rivalry in Namma Bengaluru

The Afghans may not be treated to the same hospitality on the cricket pitch.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The amity between India and Afghanistan has been one to envy. The Board of Control for Cricket in India gifted them a couple of venues in Greater Noida and Dehradun, where the Associate turned full-member team has plied their trade. The apex cricket board also accepted the Afghan’s participation in their first ever Test, the date (June 14) and venue (Bangalore) of which was decided later.

The visitors have been greeted with a heartwarming reception in the city. However, they may not be treated to the same hospitality on the cricket pitch when they will cross swords with the number one ranked Test team. Asghar Stanikzai’s latest comments on the Indian spinners are expected to add fuel to fire ahead of the historic encounter from Thursday at the metropolitan city.

Stanikzai’s men have wafted their wand across the globe, albeit in the limited overs-formats. However, Test cricket is a different ballgame and the Afghans will be in a stern task to foray into the longest version of the sport. Meanwhile, irrespective of the result, the encounter is slated to bring about a radical change in the complexion of cricket in the nation plagued by war.

Team Combination

India

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the team in the absence of Virat Kohli. Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay are the openers followed by the class of Cheteshwar Pujara at number three. KL Rahul, who was in jaw-dropping form in this year’s IPL, is likely to be included. Dinesh Karthik is the keeper followed by skipper Rahane. Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin’s batting will also be important.

The selection of Hardik Pandya may depend on the pitch. Provided the track turns out to be spitting cobra, Kuldeep Yadav might get the nod over the all-rounder. Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav will shoulder the pace bowling mantle. The onus will be on Ashwin and Jadeja to take ownership of the spin department along with Kuldeep, provided the Chinaman plays.

Predicted XI

Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ajinkya Rahane (capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav/ Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav

Afghanistan

The batting lineup of the Afghans looks a formidable one. Mohammad Shahzad and Ihsanullah Janat are the openers. Shahzad is a renowned name, while Janat has been successful at the first class level. Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, and captain Asghar Stanikzai are the middle-order batters. Mohammad Nabi’s all-rounder skills will be one to look out for.

The bowling is mostly spin dominated. Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have been exceptional in the limited over formats and will need to replicate the same in red-ball cricket as well. Zahir Khan has been decent in the Intercontinental tournaments and may find a place in the eleven. Nabi’s off-breaks will also be crucial. Yamin Ahmadzai and Sayed Shirzad are the specialist pacers.

Predicted XI

Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sayed Shirzad

Players to watch out for

Dinesh Karthik- India

Dinesh Karthik will make a comeback to the Test team following a gap of 8 years. He has had a stupendous run in the last few months, both at the international and domestic level. Wriddhiman Saha’s exclusion has come as a blessing for the Tamil Nadu-cricketer and he now has the golden opportunity to prove his mettle and cement his place in the team.

Rashid Khan- Afghanistan

A lot of talks have been going around surrounding Rashid’s speculated performance in the Test. The tweaker has been able to bamboozle the best in the business in colored-clothing cricket and will be keen to make a mark in Test cricket as well. He recently played the IPL and the T20I series. India, definitely can’t afford to undermine the teenager.

Stat Attack

1 – Mujeeb-ur-Rahman will become the first 21st century born cricketer to play Test cricket. Mujeeb will also make his first-class debut in the game which makes him the first player since 2005 to make FC debut in a Test. He will also be the youngest Test cricketer since the start of 2007.

99 – Umesh Yadav needs one more wicket to complete 100 wickets in Test cricket. He completed 200 wickets in International cricket during his last outing for India in the Test series against Sri Lanka. Umesh completed 500 wickets in his professional career during the recently concluded IPL.

Broadcast details– Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD

Online– Hotstar

Match Timings: 09:30 IST, 04:00 GMT

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