Vastavam web: In less than two weeks, Afghanistan will experience what Bangladesh felt 18 years ago when they played a Test for the first time. Come June 14, the passionate Afghan players will find out that the five-day version of the game is a different beast altogether but Bangladesh skipper, Shakib Al Hasan, has backed them to do well. They have come a long way, especially in the last few years. They have world class players in the squad and they deserve the Test status, said Hasan, who has experienced the best and worst times in Bangladesh cricket history, on the eve of the opening T20.
Asked what kind of exposure Afghanistan should get going forward in Tests, the star all-rounder added: As long as they play the top teams regularly irrespective of the format. That should give them enough exposure. Their Twenty20 opponents this week, Afghanistan, too play India in their inaugural Test in Bengaluru from June 14. The team from the strife-torn nation has risen rapidly in the shorter formats and expectations are that they will do the same in five-day cricket.Afghanistan’s strength is their spin bowling, led by the sensational Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Zadran. Their batting is the weakest link but it can only improve with more Test match experience, feels coach Phil Simmons.
The West Indian knows that his players have no idea of what five-day cricket is all about but still expects them to be competitive starting with the India challenge.Afghanistan would have been better off preparing solely for their maiden Test but for the next week they will have to stick to the slam-bang mode. Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai chose to see the positive of playing T20s right before the historic Test.