Afghanistan hope to make a dream debut when they take on the world’s top-ranked team India in their first Test match in Bengaluru from Thursday. Afghanistan are the 12th team to figure in men’s Test cricket after
Ireland debuted against Pakistan in April 2018. Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status in June 2017. The Afghan cricket team has come up with some excellent performances in the
shorter formats of the game and are confident of making their mark in the five-day version too.
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.
"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," said Afghanistan
captain Asghar Stanikzai.
India are without regular captain and second-ranked Virat Kohli for this Test but the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara (sixth), Rahane (18th) and opener Lokesh Rahul (19th) in batting and former top-ranked spinners
Ravindra Jadeja (fourth) and Ravichandran Ashwin (fifth) among bowlers will be looking to improve their positions on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings.
"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," said Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Afghanistan’s spinners will be in focus too as Rashid Khan (top-ranked in T20Is, second in ODIs) and Mohammad Nabi (eighth in T20Is, 16th in ODIs) look to make a mark in Test cricket. Among batsmen, Rahmat
Shah is their leading player in ODIs at 32nd position.