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India v Afghanistan Only Test Preview

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

India vs Afghanistan Only Test Preview Cricket Blog

History. And what beautiful history will be made at Bengaluru on Thursday.

In what is a rare occurrence in Test cricket, the result here doesn’t matter. There is something much more significant. Afghanistan make their Test debut against India, and what an amazing achievement it is.

Afghanistan‘s journey to this stage is what makes this occasion super special. Ten years ago, they were competing in ICC’s World Cricket League Division Five tournament, where they beat Jersey in the final. It was their first ICC event outside Asia. Ten years into the future, their goal may have been to secure ODI status and compete well at that level. That turned out to be too easy a goal for amazing Afghanistan. Just ten years later, they are now here, on the Test stage.

Their spin attack certainly has the talent to test India throughout this Test. However, the challenge is maintaining it over long periods of time, as some of their most talented cricketers have mastered the T20 format. Afghanistan have dominated at Associate level in the longer format, but this is a new challenge altogether. They have passed obstacle after obstacle throughout their cricketing journey, and if you believe they will seldom find success at Test level, they’ll prove you wrong.

For India, this is the beginning of a huge season. It’s easy to get caught up in the occasion of Afghanistan’s first Test, or even look forward to England, so the challenge for the world’s no.1 Test team is to remained focused on the job.

In saying that, in a time where Australia refused to host Bangladesh, hosting Afghanistan for their first ever Test is brilliant. What a great, historic occasion it promises.

Key to an India win

The Indian batsmen are excellent players of spin, and they’ll need to be on their game against a spin attack that I bet is the envy of many other cricketing nations.

There will be no Virat Kohli to lead India this time, but Ajinkya Rahane will put his stamp on things, in somewhat contrasting fashion to Kohli. India’s line up is still full of class players, and if they are ruthless in keeping Afghanistan out in the field working hard for their wickets, it will go a long to sapping the energy out of the Afghans.

Also, India’s attack impressed in South Africa. Sure, conditions will be very different here but they can build on the confidence of knowing they can put together a well-rounded bowling performance. Their best here will be too good for their debut opponents.

India vs Afghanistan Only Test Preview Cricket Blog
Cheteshwar Pujara will be keen to get in the runs after a tough 2018 so far

Key to an Afghanistan win

Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan won’t be the only place of celebration if this happens – I’ll be sure to run down the street screaming hysterically.

Afghanistan possess a very unique spin attack; one that focuses on speed through the air rather than flight. It’s what makes them so difficult to face in limited overs cricket. However, in the Test format, will they be able to make adjustments according to the conditions and situation? Batsmen won’t be as eager to score runs in Test cricket as opposed to T20 cricket, so the key is patient, strategic bowling.

Surely their best chance is causing headaches to India’s batting line up.

Also, Test cricket is about sometimes giving an hour or two to the opposition when they are bowling well. Can Afghanistan display some of the patience required to compete at this level? This will also be key.

India vs Afghanistan Only Test Preview Cricket Blog
Afghanistan enter this Test on the back of a 3-0 T20I series win v Bangladesh

Possible teams

Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammad Shami, along with Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvi Kumar will be missing for India. However, such is their depth in talent, they will still field a quality outfit. Again, there will be the question of trying to fit three into two opening spots, but if India are indeed looking to the near future, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay is the best opening combination option, in my opinion. Also, it remains to be seen whether India go with two or three pace options (including Hardik).
India possible XI: 1. Murali Vijay/Shikhar Dhawan, 2. KL Rahul, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Karun Nair, 5. Ajinkya Rahane (c), 6. Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7. Hardik Pandya 8. Ravichandran Ashwin, 9. Ravindra Jadeja, 10. Umesh Yadav, 11. Ishant Sharma/Kuldeep Yadav
What an amazing moment for Afghanistan. Their squad has quite a bit of talent, and they’ll be hoping to transfer it onto the field in their first ever Test.
Afghanistan possible XI:  1. Hashmatullah Shahidi, 2. Javed Ahmadi, 3. Azghar Stanikzai (c), 4. Nasir Jamal, 5. Mohammad Nabi, 6. Mohammad Shahzad (wk), 7. Rahmat Shah, 8. Rashid Khan, 9. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 10. Yamin Ahmadzi, 11. Sayed Shirzad

Stats and Facts:

  • The last time an Asian team played their first Test (Bangladesh in 2000), India were also the opponents.
  • No team has ever won their first Test since Australia in 1877 v England (this was the first ever Test).
  • Ajinkya Rahane captained India to a 4th Test win against Australia last year to take the series 2-1. This will be his second Test as captain.
  • Rashid Khan has taken 35 wickets in four First Class matches at 15.
  • Mujeeb Ur Rahman is set to become the first Test cricketer to be born in the 21st century.

Prediction:

What an occasion this is, and I’ll be sure to keep my eyes glued to this match. India are overwhelming favourites and will win this Test, but it’s a time to be so proud of Afghanistan.
Here’s to a good Test.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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