India v/s Afghanistan Test match

Karun Nair India Ranji Trophy

After the one-off Afghanistan Test match, Rahane has nothing to look forward to as he has been dropped from the limited-overs side which is going to United Kingdom first. Their Test debut comes at the back of a T20I series triumph over Bangladesh, but head coach Phil Simmons exuded confidence about his team's ability to seamlessly transition between the two contrasting formats. In a tweet, PM Modi wrote, "I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first worldwide test match". We know they're a decent team, with (good) bowlers. In two years, they have had household names (like Rashid). "But in all the training has been good because it's been little bit separated except for the four players who played the T20s", Simmons said. "We have had our own Kuldeep in young Zahir".

"We are not feeling nervous", he told a news conference on Wednesday.

The Indian team will take on Afghanistan team in the one-off Test at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. "I think our bowlers are experienced enough to turn on that".

One omission from their preparation though, will be on how to counter Virat Kohli as the Indian captain will sit the game out, as well as miss the planned County stint, owing to a neck injury.

Having witnessed the turmoil West Indies went through towards the end of his career, Simmons is aware of the immediate challenge to channel Afghanistan's white-ball temperament to the longest format.

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"I think there will always be a little bit of disappointment in the players in not being on the same cricket field as Virat, especially".

On the eve of the historic match, Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai said his team faced sky-high expectations at home. Ashwin and Jadeja both played crucial roles in India's stunning come-from-behind victory against Australia here in March 2017, and the temptation will be overwhelming to add Kuldeep's wristy, left-arm variations to the mix. "We are happy to be here and playing India, Virat is not India". "Each and every Test counts and we need to win this one", Rahane said. While the star-studded bowling line-up has hogged most of the limelight, the Afghans would expect their batsmen to contribute equally if they hope for a dream start to their Test journey.

"My captain knows what he is talking about", he said with a laugh.

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. We know that right now, Rashid [Khan] is the most hard spinner to play. Test cricket is a different beast and Rashid's real battle starts now.

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