Afghanistan are all set to play their maiden international Test match against the top-ranked Indian side on June 14 at the at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, Bengaluru. It will be a tough task for the Afghan side as this is the stepping stone for them in the toughest format.
After the successful T20 series against Bangladesh, the morale of the spirited Afghans will be sky high. While on the other side Indian team will be missing their regular skipper Virat Kohli as he is rested due to team's hectic schedule. In his absence middle-order batsman, Ajinkya Rahane will lead the Indian side in the historic test.
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In Test cricket, India have plenty of experience and have a few of the star players present such as Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma in the 15-man squad.
Batsman Karun Nair received his call from the selectors after his decent performances in the 11th edition of the IPL. The 26-year old right-handed batsman has played 6 Test matches so far and has a highest score of 303 to his name. Nair was the second Indian after Virender Sehwag to hit a triple ton in Test cricket. His inputs could be vital for the hosts.
Making his way into the scene is Shardul Thakur, who may get a chance to make his debut in Test cricket after his impressive performances in the limited-overs formats of the game. With pacers such as Shami, Umesh and Ishant already present, Thakur will have to produce some fiery deliveries to land himself a place in the starting XI.
Along with Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal was also included in the 15-man squad who also may get a chance to make his debut with the red ball. However, there are already four spinners present out of which only two might get selected between Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Chahal. A toughie for the management and leaders to decide as Ashwin and Jadeja have plenty of experience with the red ball whereas the youngsters still have a long way to go.
The batsmen will, however, have to be on their toes as they face a spin-heavy squad, led by 19-year old Rashid Khan who wrecked havoc in the recently concluded IPL and the three-match T20I series against Bangladesh.
Afghanistan has a few spinners who have bedazzled star batsmen in the IPL such as Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammed Nabi. The batsmen, however, will have a tough time against the Indian seamers, but the bowlers can sure be a challenge for the Indian batsmen.
The Asghar Stanikzai led Afghanistan recently demolished Bangladesh in the three-match T20I series where they won 3-0 and it was the bowlers who made the difference and with Rashid hogging the limelight once again with his superb performances.
History beckons from June 14 as India host Afghanistan in a one-off Test match at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
India: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Shikhar Dhawan, M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (c), Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Javed Ahmadi, Amir Hamza, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai (wk), Rahmat Shah, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sayed Shirzad, Nasir Jamal, Ihsanullah Janat, Rashid Khan, Zahir Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Wafadar