Afghanistan touched off a new journey in their cricket history as they have made their Test debut against top-ranked India in the historic one-off Test on Thursday (June 14).
India won the toss and opted to bat first at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in India.
Afghanistan, who are rising through the ranks of world cricket, have named a spin-heavy squad for their debut Test to give India a taste of their own medicine.
The squad comprises five spinners in Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Zahir Khan and left-arm spinner Hamza Kotak, who incidentally emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded first-class competition.
India have a little advantage in the upcoming Test as their batsmen have already faced a couple of Afghan spinners in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Afghan stars Rashid and Mujeeb enjoyed fruitful campaigns in the IPL, playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab respectively.
Afghanistan Squad: Asghar Stanikzai(c), Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Ihsanullah Janat, Rahmat Shah, Nasir Jamal, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Zahir Khan, Amir Hamza, Sayed Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
India Squad: Ajinkya Rahane(c), Cheteshwar Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Karun Nair, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Dinesh Karthik, Navdeep Saini
Afghanistan will take a sense of excitement, not nerves, onto the pitch for their maiden test match on Thursday, skipper Asghar Stanikzai says.
"We are excited and the people back home are excited that we are playing the number one ranked side in our first test”
"They have seen us do well in shorter formats, and our fans will expect us to do similarly well in test cricket as well," he added.
Afghanistan has made quick strides in white-ball cricket since its international debut in 2001. It played at the ODI World Cup for the first time in 2015 and has already qualified for next year's championship in England.
It also reached the Super Ten stage in the World T20 in 20016 and beat eventual champions West Indies in a league match.
Source: CricBuzz, NDTV, Business Insider
BDST: 1200 HRS, JUN 14, 2018