DAINIK NATION BUREAU
Afghanistan will take on Bangladesh in a three-match T20 series starting here June 3, dividing their focus ahead of the historic Test debut against India in two weeks’ time. While the dates of the Afghanistan’s inaugural Test against India were announced back in January, the series against Bangladesh at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Dehradun was confirmed in May. This schedule has left Afghanistan with no choice other than to have joint preparations for the Test and T20s. The teams for the contrasting formats have been training in batches, with the five-day squad training in the morning and the T20 lot in the evening.
Only five players — captain Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rashid Khan, Mujeed Zadran and Mohammad Nabi — figure in both the squads. Coach Phil Simmons said he would have liked more practice games ahead of the India challenge but with modern-day scheduling, he has to get the best out of what he has.
“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. That is how tours are planned now. You usually have Test matches first and then limited over series, or vice versa. We just have to work around that,” said Simmons, who has been working hard with both squads ever since they arrived at their second home ground 10 days ago.
Afghanistan were earlier training in the heat of Greater Noida and therefore, the players are much more comfortable in the conditions here, including the stadium, which will become India’s 51st international venue tomorrow.
Talking to media, Asgar said that Uttarakhand natural beauty is more or less similar to Afganistan so he feels comfortable. Talking about BCCI decision that whosoever team would visit India, will have to play match with Afganistan, Asgar said that we are very much thankful to BCCI.