The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 ended on 27th May, but the cricketing action is not over yet as Team India is set to face Afghanistan in an upcoming test series which will begin from 14th June to 18th June 2018. Ajinkya Rahane has been handed the role of captain for the test squad. It is being called a historic match which will be hosted in Bengaluru, India.
“Bengaluru because at that time of the year, there will be rains almost everywhere and where it will not be raining, there will be such heat that cricket will be practically impossible during day time. Considering all the factors Bengaluru was the finest choice,” said Amitabh Choudhary, acting secretary of BCCI.
The one-off Test contest has been named the Indo-Afghanistan Friendship Series and intends to strengthen the relations between the two countries. And it will take place before India departs for the long tour of England and Ireland. Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chairman Shukrullah Atif Mashal thanked the BCCI for adding another layer to the invaluable friendship between both countries with the test match.
“The historic friendship between India and Afghanistan cannot be denied. It goes back to centuries. I am glad that cricket is also added to it,” said Mashal.
The selection of players for the upcoming matches with Afghanistan, England and Ireland was made by the senior staff of the BCCI
Openers KL Rahul and Murli Vijay, along with off-spinner R Ashwin, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and all-rounder Krunal Pandya will be among the cricketers part of the India ‘A’ team. Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have also been left out of the side while Karun Nair has been favoured over Rohit Sharma. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma will also be playing in the one-off test against Afghanistan. KL Rahul and Murali Vijay are the two other openers who will accompany Dhawan. Cheteshwar Pujara will bat at one down while Karun Nair will make a come back and take the place of Virat Kohli at number four. And with Ajinkya Rahane the middle order will be completed. Wriddhiman Saha will stand behind the stumps as the wicket-keeper of the team. The fan favorite Virat Kohli will not be playing in the test as he was set to play the county cricket in England but a neck injury ruled him out of the county cricket as well.
It will be Afghanistan’s first Test match since they were awarded the Test status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in June 2017. Prior to the final squad selection of Afghanistan a 30-man team is warming up for the match. Afghan star bowler Rashid Khan said that “it will be a big day for cricket in Afghanistan” and he could not wait to become a Test cricketer. The squad for the test is yet to be seen and their test performance will decide their rankings and their future in this format of cricket. And as it is the first official test of Afghanistan the players are excited to play the test format of cricket.
Making their appearance in the ODI format in 2009, out of 98 matches played they won 51 matches and lost 45 matches. While in the T20 International format they played 63 matches in which 41 matches were won by them and 22 matches were lost. But they became the champions of the T20 International 2010. The test format is new for the Afghan team and the players will have to be accustomed to the test cricket but after seeing their performances in other cricket formats it will be not wrong to say that the team will be doing well in their upcoming match against India. The cricket fans of both the countries will be waiting eagerly for the match of the two nations, one of them is the No. 1 rank holder in the test format while the other country is playing its first official test match. It will indeed be a historic match in the making.