Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, who was named in the Indian Test squad as a replacement for Wriddhiman Saha, has lauded Afghanistan’s inspirational journey as the latter team prepare to play their historic match in the longest format of the game.
Afghanistan, who have fast established themselves as a force to reckon with in the shorter formats, will become the 12th side to feature in men’s Test cricket after Ireland debuted against Pakistan last month.
Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June.
Insisting that the Indian team are looking forward to the honour of playing against Afghanistan in their maiden Test match, Karthik said that the Asghar Stanikzai-led side’s journey has been an inspiration for international cricket.
“It’s been beautiful, isn’t it. Their journey has been an inspiration for international cricket. Everyone knows it’s a tough place and the turmoil that they are going through, but in spite of that they are able to inspire people with their performances,” Karthik said.
Karthik further said that Afghanistan have managed to produce a lot of players from the Indian Premier League (IPL) and that he is ecstatic to see the country doing so well at the international level.
“They’re able to produce big players even in a tournament like the IPL (Indian Premier League).They have some key players who are producing some big performances for them. I’m happy to see a country like that doing so well in cricket. Today, they are household names in the few years they’ve played. It’s only going to get better. I genuinely hope they have the opportunity to play a lot of Test cricket,” he said.
Teen sensation Rashid and fellow spinners Mujeeb ur Rahman, Zahir Khan and Hamza Hotak have been named in the 16-member Afghanistan squad for the inaugural one-off Test match against India.
India, on the other hand, will be without their star skipper Virat Kohli, who decided to skip the historic Test for his maiden English county stint but was later sidelined with neck injury.
In Kohli’s absence, India are most likely to call up their star spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin, the world’s fourth and fifth-ranked Test bowlers respectively.
India are slated to play the one-off historic Test match against Afghanistan, beginning June 14 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.