1st session belongs to India -- thanks to Dhawan

Jun 16, 2018, 17:47
1st session belongs to India -- thanks to Dhawan

In spite of having somewhat of a torrid time in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Navdeep Saini has been added to the Indian Test squad that will face-off against Afghanistan in a historic one-off Test match that will be played in Bengaluru on the 14th of June.

Having played global games in Noida and Dehradun, along with countless IPL matches, should make the conditions they will face in Bangalore familiar to the Afghanistan players. It played at the ODI World Cup for the first time in 2015 and has already qualified for next year's championship in England.

India will field an under-strength side in the one-off test as they have one eye fixed on the long worldwide schedule ahead.

On the team front, Simmons dropped a hint that beefy keeper-batsman Mohammed Shahzad may purely play as a batsman as they have a designated four-day keeper in Afsar Zazai.

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BCCI - which is spearheading India's carefully choreographed cricket diplomacy to steal a march over Pakistan - has even invited Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani to watch his team play its first Test match against India at Bangalore. There is no reason why they can not do it in test cricket and in time they will be even better bowlers than when they started off. "We won't take them (Afghanistan) lightly", Rahane said.

In reality, the Indians have been more or less comfortable against the slower bowlers in the previous season barring the first Test against Australia in Pune a year ago.

It is a common perception that Afghanistan may not be well prepared for the Tests as they are coming here after a successful T20 series against Bangladesh in Dehradun last week.

Indirectly drawing reference to Rashid Khan's success in the IPL, Karthik said: "In just two years they have got a few household names and it's only going to get better".

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Hardik Pandya was batting on 10 with Ravichandran Ashwin on seven at the other end when stumps were drawn. I can't tell you how to prepare for a particular player.

After Rashid was lavishly praised by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who described him as the "best T20 spinner in the world", a campaign was launched to given him Indian citizenship so that he could represent the cricket insane nation. "So, we have put that in front of them and I think they have worked hard enough to be put out there, we will see what it brings tomorrow (Thursday)".

These spinners are Afghanistan's strength and their sole line of attack in the one off Test match.

"It's important we play our minds rather than skills, because getting back to Test from T20 cricket is all about tuning your mind rather than focusing on your skills".

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