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India Vs Afghanistan: Probable India XI for Bengaluru Test

By Avinash Sharma
India Vs Afghanistan: Probable India XI for Bengaluru Test

Bengaluru, June 13: History will be created when India and Afghanistan will engage in a Test match at M Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Thursday (June 14). Afghanistan are set to make their Test after Ireland entered the elite club last month.

With this one-off Test match, Afghanistan will become a Test playing nation, who have been creating quite a sensation in the limited-overs format.

Afghanistan team under Asghar Stanikzai's captaincy will lock horns with the world's number one ranked Test side.

Team India miss their charismatic skipper Virat Kohli, who is recovering from an injury, in the historic Test. Kohli's deputy, Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the side against a quality, but inexperienced spin attack.

The Afghan spin department comprises No. 1 T20I bowler Rashid Khan along with teenage mystery spinner Mujeeb Zadran. They also have another promising slow bowler in Zahir Khan.

Afghan skipper Asghar Stanikzai in the run-up to their debut Test had already claimed that his spinners are better than their Indian counterparts, which boasts of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - who have claimed 311 and 165 wickets in Test cricket respectively.

Many are contemplating that the one-off Test match will be a contest between Indian batsmen and Afghan spinners. Indian batsmen haven't been the best players of spin lately and that would be an area of concern for stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane and coach Ravi Shastri.

But India's pace battery comprising Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and all-rounder Hardik Pandya would be hoping to rattle inexperienced Afghan batting side.

Afghan must be fancying their chances against India in their debut game and impress the cricketing world with an all-round show and even upsetting the top-ranked Test side. But more than winning, it will be a test of character for the Afghans because Test cricket is all about holding on to your nerves and show the highest level of mental and physical strength.

India, on the other hand, are also preparing hard for this game because they have a long and tough season ahead. They couldn't afford to take Afghanistan lightly and playing against an unknown opponent like them also gives Indians a chance to get into the grooves ahead of challenging England tour.

Here's how India's Probable XI might look like on Thursday:

Murali Vijay:

Murali Vijay:

The Tamil Nadu batsman has been India's first choice opener in the longest format. However, Vijay was completely out of form in South Africa Test series and couldn't even score a fifty in all six innings he opened.

The right-handed batsman mostly warmed the benches during the IPL 2018 as he played just one game for Chennai Super Kings and scored just 12. But, he still remains to the first choice opener and team management would want him to get into his form ahead of England tour.

Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan

Dhawan, who also had a poor show in the Test series against South Africa, came out strongly in the limited-overs format. The southpaw, since then, has been exploding runs and is looking in a sensational form.

Dhawan is looking in ominous form and it would be interesting to see if he gets to open the innings with Murali Vijay.

KL Rahul

KL Rahul

The young Karnataka batsman was a revelation in the IPL 2018 as he accumulated 659 runs from 14 innings in the home-grown league. The right-handed batsman would be hoping he gets chance to open the innings against Afghanistan. If Rahul doesn't open for India, then he'll surely be batting at No. 3 in Bengaluru.

Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara

In the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, Mr Dependable - Pujara - will be the backbone of India batting line-up the one-off Test. The right-handed batsman from Saurashtra too had a forgettable outing in South Africa and his recent county stint too wasn't very satisfying from his standards. The team would, therefore, be hoping for a big knock from Pujara who is known for frustrating opposition bowlers.

Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane

Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane's form will be very crucial for team's success against Afghanistan. Rahane was key to India's win over South Africa in Johannesburg Test. Rahane's good form is going to be critical for India's success overseas.

Coach Ravi Shastri must hope Rahane scores against Afghanistan for that will help them in England.

Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik

The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman is going to make his India comeback after a gap of 87 Tests. He has surpassed the previous record of 83 Tests, held by Parthiv Patel.

Karthik will be donning the gloves in the absence of regular stumper Wriddhiman Saha. With this game, the Tamil Nadu cricketer must be hoping to cement his position permanently in the Test squad.

Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya

The all-rounder from Baroda would hope to overcome the lows during Test series against South Africa. After his memorable knock of 93 in the first Test at Cape Town, the all-rounder lost his sheen with the bat in the successive games.

However, Pandya - the pacer - was in good touch during the IPL and would, therefore, make it to the playing eleven on Thursday to perform the duties of the third pacer.

R Ashwin

R Ashwin

The Tamil Nadu spinner would be leading India's spin attack on Bengaluru turf. When India last played a Test match here, against Australia, Ashwin bagged a six-for in the match-winning effort.

Skipper Rahane would hope for something similar with their premium spinner against an inexperienced Afghan batting line-up.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja

The Saurashtra all-rounder will be making a comeback in the playing eleven after warming the benches on the South Africa series. Since India are playing at home, they'll play both their prime spinners in Bengaluru Test. Jadeja is also a handy batsman and his batting exploits could get those extra runs if and when the team requires.

Ishant Sharma

Ishant Sharma

In the absence of strike pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, the lanky bowler from Delhi will be leading the pace battery for India. Ishant has been a seasoned campaigner for Team India in the Tests and his latest county experience would also come handy.

Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav

The speedster from Nagpur stunned all with his bowling skills in the IPL. The right-arm pacer impressed all with his pace and variations and wicket-taking ability early on during the IPL. Team would hope for a similar effort from the Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 15:50 [IST]
    Other articles published on Jun 13, 2018
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