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16 June 2018, 05:44 | Tracey Rhodes
Afghanistan play their first Test against India from June 1
And in the fitness of things, they are playing their first ever Test match in Bangalore on Thursday against India - the world's wealthiest cricket nation which has groomed and mentored them.
It has been nearly 11 years since Dinesh Karthik made his Test debut for India and come July 14, the wicketkeeper-batsman will don the whites of his country once again for only the 24th time.
The Afghans were granted one-day worldwide competitive status by the ICC in 2009, but the rigors of cricket's five-day Test format will be new to the Afghan players, making India the overwhelming favorite in the match.
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 a year ago. The cricket authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, could join hands, in their efforts to bring worldwide cricket back to their respective countries.
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"We also request other test cricketing nations to arrange regular series with Afghanistan".
Partners in earning the Test membership, Ireland had a rather celebrated start to Test cricket when they ran Pakistan close in a home Test last month.
In recent years, cricket has become yet another area building goodwill and cementing ties between Afghanistan and India. Having two wristspinners themselves - Rashid and Zahir Khan - along with Mujeeb Ur Rahman's variations should help cope to an extent. A win or loss is a different matter; whoever plays well will win. "Everyone knows Afghanistan is a tough place and the turmoil that they are going through, yet they are able to inspire people with their performances". They expect us to perform well because recently Afghanistan performed really well in the T20s and ODIs.
Vijay shared a second-wicket stand of 112 with KL Rahul (54), before Afghanistan fought back towards stumps with five wickets for 54 runs, including Ajinkya Rahane (10), who is standing in as skipper for Virat Kohli. In March, the teenager became the fastest bowler to reach 100 one-day global wickets, and is now the world's top-ranked Twenty20 bowler.
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Afghanistan: Mohammad Shahzad, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Nabi, Afsar Zazai (wk), Rashid Khan, Yamin Ahmadzai, Wafadar, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
"Every member of a team always believes their team is good, that their bowling attack or their batting is better", Rahane said with a wide smile when reminded of his opposite number, Asghar Stanikzai's bold statement in the lead up to this Test.
Most cricket-loving Afghans were watching the match on TV back home as they prepared for a three-day public holiday marking the Muslim festival of Eid.
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