India vs Afghanistan Test: These 5 players will be interesting to watch

These five players will have a microscope on them to see how they perform in the upcoming encounter.

Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul
Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan and teammate Lokesh Rahul run between the wickets. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

India will play their 522nd Test at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru starting June 14 and their opponents on this occasion are Afghanistan, who will be making their debut in the longest format of the game. This will be the fourth time that India will be play the opponents to a debutant Test side after Pakistan in 1952; Zimbabwe in 1992 and Bangladesh in 2000. While India won the game versus Pakistan by an innings and 70 runs and Bangladesh by 9 wickets, they managed to draw with Zimbabwe after surviving a scare.

Now, it’s time for the spin-heavy Afghanistan side to test India in their inaugural five-day game.

Afghanistan, however, have caught a lot of attention ahead of the game with India since some of their players have already made a name for themselves in international cricket – in the one-day international and Twenty20 formats. It is to be seen now whether they can replicate their performances in the limited overs format in the longest one.

India will be led by Ajinkya Rahane, who was picked as the captain after the regular skipper Virat Kohli opted out while the visitors will play under the leadership of Asghar Stanikzai.

There are a few names from both the competing sides to look forward to during this game, depending on their recent performances and reputation. Here we pick five such players who could make a real difference in their respective team’s pursuit for a win:

1. Ishant Sharma (India)

Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma of India celebrates a wicket. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The 29-year-old lanky pacer though had an injury scare during his county stint with Sussex, Ishant Sharma has been in a good touch which makes him a key member in the hosts’ bowling line-up against Afghanistan. After getting ignored for the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sharma made an impressive county debut claiming five wickets in his first game and has continued  to do well. This preparation of Sharma, who has 234 wickets in 80 Tests, is much likely make him effective in the upcoming England series but the Afghanistan batsmen will also have to take an extra bit of care while playing Sharma.

The Delhi bowler took eight wickets in the two Tests he played last, against South Africa, but could be a completely different customer after his county stint. He will also know that the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah who were not picked for the Afghanistan game will make the competition tough and hence make the most of the opportunity that he has.

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