Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Rahane insists India won’t take Test debutants Afghanistan lightly

Karun Nair India Ranji Trophy India's Nair reacts at Afghan skipper Stanikzai bold statement on spinners
Sidney Guerrero | 14 June, 2018, 08:48

One of the catalysts for that success was a debutant. Delighted to be at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium where Afghanistan makes its debut in test cricket against India.

Rahane himself has had a tumultuous year.

All the focus in the lead-up to the Bengaluru Test has been on Afghanistan. Like Cheteshwar Pujara, who had a shocking county season - 100 runs in eight innings for Yorkshire - he is now a one-format player.

Speaking about the upcoming series he said: "As a Test team we can not take anyone for granted because cricket is a amusing game". "A big moment for Afghan cricket as well". The team has gelled well together after playing so many matches over the years and share a special camaraderie.

"See, I don't know what's going to happen after this Test match". "He is the comedian of the team but someone who always has the team at heart". But Rahane had no interest in getting into a public debate on the matter. We have bowlers of similar ilk and they have been bowling at the batsmen. He has not played Test cricket. It is important that you do your best all the time. Wafadar will open the bowling from the other end. But it boils down to how you handle the pressure on match-day. If anything, he only reinforced the message.

The surface aside, it was also inevitable Simmons was going to be asked about Stanikzai's remarks of Afghanistan's spinners being better than India's. Mujeeb and Rashid have played in the IPL and know the Indian conditions well. "When I played with them (Afghanistan) in Ireland, it was a little more greener than this and it still turned", he said.

We only had four players that crossover [from T20I squad]. It shows that they have young talent coming up.

Afghanistan are under no illusion about how the pitch will behave and expect India's three spinners to come hard at them.

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India have a couple of selection conundrums to sort out before they step on to the park. There is no place for Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Karun Nair.

Putting speculations to rest, the team fielded all three openers - Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, K. L. Rahul.

And even before that they will have to counter the disconcerting bounce generated by Ishant Sharma and the pace worked up by Umesh Yadav. "We want to go out there and be ruthless".

"We won't take Afghanistan lightly".

"As the home team, it is important to play to our strengths. Our attitude will remain the same on the field".

"The mood back home is that they are very positive and supportive and looking forward for the best performance". Along with the anticipation, there will also be a twinge of regret, mixed with some relief. "We still had 12-13 players training with red ball", Simmons said.

When is India vs Afghanistan one-off Test match? We don't beat Virat. "So we are disappointed he is not playing, but little bit happy that we are not going to bowl to him all the time". We're happy that we're here and we're playing India and Virat is not India. "Virat is not India".

Afghans have five spinners in their squad in Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan and left-arm spinner Hamza Kotak with the captain Asghar Stanikzai confident about that they can cause trouble against the formidable Indians.

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