It will be a dream debut for newest Test nation Afghanistan, as they take on the world’s top-ranked team, India, in their first Test in Bengaluru from Thursday.
Afghanistan, who have fast established themselves as a force to reckon with in the shorter formats, will become the 12th side to figure in men’s Test cricket after Ireland debuted against Pakistan last month. Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June.
The one-off Test against India will be Afghanistan’s first step towards being ranked on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings and a chance for their gifted players to enter the individual rankings after making a mark in limited overs cricket. India stand to lose three points if they lose this match but their number-one position is under no threat, thanks to a 13-point lead over South Africa.
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai: “It’s a great moment for us as we embark on our Test journey. To be playing our first Test against India is a great honour and we hope to give a good account of ourselves.
“To be competing against the best on the Test rankings table is something to be proud of and we will try to do our best in whatever chances we get and exhibit the skills the players possess individually as well as collectively as a team.”
India captain Ajinkya Rahane: “It’s a privilege to be playing in Afghanistan’s first Test match. It’s a historic moment for them and an opportunity for us to be part of the occasion.
“They have a fine team and some talented players who have proved themselves in shorter formats. I’m sure they are looking forward to do the same in Test cricket. On behalf of the Indian team, I wish them all the best.”
Here are the players of both the teams -
India (From): Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane(c), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini
Afghanistan (From): Mohammad Shahzad(w), Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Stanikzai(c), Nasir Jamal, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Yamin Ahmadzai, Sayed Shirzad, Wafadar, Zahir Khan, Ihsanullah Janat, Amir Hamza, Afsar Zazai