India's Modi hopes historic cricket match will boost ties with Afghanistan

Karun Nair looks to seal India berth. credit Twitter

Karun Nair looks to seal India berth. credit Twitter

Afghanistan will embark on a new journey in their cricket history when they make their Test debut against a Virat Kohli-less No.1-ranked India in the historic one-off Test at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday.

Awarded full member status alongside Ireland in June past year, Afghanistan will become the 12th test playing nation in less than two decades after being recognised by International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2001.

For the hosts sans regular skipper Virat Kohli, wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik made a comeback to the Test side after nearly eight years.

In reality, the Indians have been more or less comfortable against the slower bowlers in the previous season barring the first Test against Australia in Pune past year.

After impressive performances in the limited-overs formats, Afghanistan must prove they can stand the stresses of a five-day match. Good luck to both teams.

"I don't know what that person (Stanikzai) had said, but you have got to understand that we have got a lot of experience, not only in Test match cricket but also (in a) lot of domestic cricket, four day cricket", Karthik said on Tuesday. Indian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore shook hands with Afghan players before the match and read out a congratulatory statement from Modi.

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.

Afghanistan received Test status a year ago along with Ireland. Afghanistan went on to draw the match and gave tough competition to the home side and eventually went on to win the tournament with 6 victories in 7 matches. Yes, we are going to focus on our strengths and our positives, without thinking about Afghanistan.

Ashwin got rid of Yamin Ahmadzai and Mohammad Nabi in consecutive overs, and Jadeja dismissed Mujeeb Ur Rahman stumped just in time for tea.

Afghanistan, who have been forced to train in India since 2015 because of the conflict at home, have just secured a T20 series sweep over Bangladesh with teen sensation Rashid Khan now an worldwide star. Stanikzai admitted his inexperienced unit faced a daunting task in the long format but said they were determined to put their best foot forward. Afghanistan ought to have been mere pushovers for this India juggernaut, but if rumour mills are anything to go by, the Ajinkya Rahane-led unit aren't taking their neighbours lightly. In March, the teenager became the fastest bowler to reach 100 one-day worldwide wickets, and is now the world's top-ranked Twenty20 bowler. We have had our own Kuldeep in young Zahir (Khan), we have bowlers of bowlers of similar ilk and they have been bowling at the batsmen.

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