T20 series will help us prepare for Test against India, says Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai
There will a lot at stake for Afghanistan as they face Bangladesh in the Twenty20 series starting on Saturday. After the three-match series, Afghanistan will take on India in a one-off Test in Bengaluru, making their debut in the longer format.
Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai said it was a huge moment for them and they are looking forward to playing the historic first Test against India. The T20 series will help us prepare for the big challenge in Bengaluru from June 14 to 18, he said.
“We would like to give our best in the T20s against Bangladesh. Hopefully we can win and gain confidence ahead of the first Test match against India. It is going to be huge for Afghanistan,” shared Asghar. Five players -- Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rehman and Mohammad Nabi, figure in both the Afghanistan squads.
“It has been difficult with the T20 and Test squads training at the same time. But it is getting a bit easier as we are coming up to the game. You usually have Test matches first and then limited over series or vice versa. We just have to work around that,” said Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons had said on Saturday.
Players from Afghanistan and Bangladesh are coming off after IPL stints.
While Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Mohammed Nabi (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Mujeeb Ur Rehman (Kings XI Punjab) hogged limelight with their prowess, Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Mustafizur Rahman (Mumbai Indians) also caught the attention. Rashid has been in good form in IPL and Stanikzai feels the leg spinner’s experience will be valuable for the team.
“Rashid Khan did exceptionally well in IPL. His form and experience will lift other team mates against Bangladesh. Rashid is in great form. We have lot of cricket ahead like the Bengaluru Test, Asia cup, World Cup in 2019, hopefully he can mentor others in the team. His experience in the IPL will lift the team. Nabi is also an experienced campaigner.
“Mujeeb was a discovery this IPL season. He is young and must have learnt so much from Kings XI Punjab coach and captain. The conditions in Dehradun will be more or less similar to the IPL match conditions,” said Asghar.
For Shakib too, IPL 11 was a learning curve and spending six to seven weeks in India helped learn about the conditions.
“We reached the finals and played under tough conditions. Playing for the country is totally different. It gives you a sense of pride. I hope to use all the IPL experience against Afghanistan, who have improved so much in the last two years,” said Shakib, who bagged 17 dismissals in 17 matches.