Afghanistan ready for maiden test against top-ranked India | AP sports

India vs Afghanistan Ind vs Afg Ajinkya Rahane Asghar Stanikzai Rahane India India Rahane sports news cricket Indian Express

Ajinkya Rahane will lead India against Afghanistan

If Mujeeb Ur Rahman is selected in the team then he will become the first player to be born in the 21st century to play Test cricket.

On day 1 of the historic event, Dhawan emerged the first-ever Indian batsman to smash a century before lunch and lift the world's best Test side.

Afghanistan have also been part of four Twenty20 World Cups. Being unable to host an worldwide match in its own country, New Delhi has also provided the venue for the Afghan team to play matches against Ireland and Bangladesh.

The match is a milestone for Afghanistan whose sportsmen have persevered, despite conflict and tough conditions at home, to emerge on the global cricketing arena. Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, will serve as the home ground of the Afghanistan cricket team according to an understanding which New Delhi and Kabul have arrived at, government sources here said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it is a matter of pride and honour for India to host Afghanistan's maiden Test match and paid tribute to the war-ravaged country's indomitable spirit. This could blunt Afghanistan's strength in spin, perhaps balancing the scale with India's duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. I don't think playing a long day of cricket is new to us.

Afghanistan are under no illusion about how the pitch will behave and expect India's three spinners to come hard at them. "It will be a great experience - we're all excited - but our focus will be on how to win".

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Afghan cricket grew out of the refugee camps in Pakistan where many families were based after they fled the Afghan conflict in the 1980s and 1990s. Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay gave a commanding start.

Dinesh Karthik came back in India's Test XI after missing 87 matches, which is a record for India.

India has played a significant role in promoting cricket in Afghanistan since 2001 when the conflict-ridden country joined the ICC (International Cricket Council). On Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai's statement that their spinners were better, Rahane said, "Every member believes that their team is good, be it the bowling or batting department".

Another doubt is their ability to stand up against the fearsome Indian attack, pace and spin in equal measure, as their batsmen are known to play aggressive, fast-paced knocks. "We would like to see them more in other sports as well, wrestling leagues, kabaddi leagues and many other Olympic sports", he added. We are disappointed he is not playing, but a little bit happy that we are not going to bowl to him all the time.

Afghanistan quicks Wafadar and Yamin Ahmadzai, who have played a combined 25 first-class games in their career, struggled to make full use of seamer-friendly conditions in the opening hour of the session.

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