India play to host the historic one off-test with Afghanistan beginning on 14 June at the M.A. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. Afghanistan Cricket team is accustomed to playing in Indian conditions as India is their adopted home. This is a big opportunity for the debutantes to gain experience as they take on an experienced Indian side. For Dinesh Karthik, it is a big opportunity to get some runs under his belt, it could get him in the reckoning for the future. It is also a golden opportunity for the debutantes to impress fans and increase their following.Also Read - India's Predicted Playing XI vs New Zealand, T20 WC Super 12: Ishan Kishan For Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur For Bhuvneshwar Kumar; 2 Changes Likely
Here are the key battles or face-offs that could decide the trajectory of the fixture. One thing looks certain, for both teams it will be ‘Spin to Win”! Also Read - Rahul Dravid Officially Applies For Team India Head Coach's Post; VVS Laxman Likely to Take Over at NCA
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Mujeeb Ur Rahman Vs KL Rahul
Mujeeb has been growing as a cricketer and IPL was a testament of that, where he turned up for Kings XI Punjab. KL Rahul, who too was a part of the team would know Mujeeb’s style, his variations, which could help nullify the Rahman factor. But if someone looks at the other side of the picture, Mujeeb too knows KL’s game in and out, so that would be a great battle to watch out for. Mujeeb during an interview stated that he would like to dismiss KL Rahul, as during the net practice of IPL, Rahul used to play him quite well.
Rashid Khan vs Entire Indian Team
Rashid Khan is among the best modern spinners currently, if not the best. He is in everyone’s wishlist and he undoubtedly would be the biggest threat, not for a single batsman but for the entire Indian cricket team. Rashid Khan has shown he has the hunger and appetite for picking wickets at any given stage of the match. Realising he is the biggest threat, India cricket team called in Shivil Kaushik and Chahal to bowl in the nets. They bowled for three hours to give Indian batsmen a feel of wrist spin. India too have a wrist spinner in Rashid Khan in their line-up. Rashid also has the knack of picking wickets in cluster which could dent India if that happens. Hence, Khan versus the entire Indian team will be another key battle to watch out for.
Cheteshwar Pujara Vs Left-arm Spinner (Hamza Kotak)
Considering Cheteshwar Pujara does not have a good record against left-arm spin, Afghanistan could go in for Hamza Kotak who is a left arm spinner. Pujara has found it hard against left-arm spin and hence we also saw then-coach Anil Kumble bowling left-arm spin to Pujara in the nets during the Australia tour of India series, after India faced a 333-run defeat in the hands of Australia at Pune and Pujara was dismissed by Steve O’Keefe.
“As they have a left arm spinner, Anil bhai was trying to replicate that, coming from the corner of the crease and angling into the right hander and try to spin it from there”, Pujara told what Kumble was trying to do.
Meanwhile, regular captain Virat Kohli will not take part in the historic Test due to a neck injury. Ajinkya Rahane would be the stand-in captain for India.