When Afghanistan’s team will play Bangladesh in Dehradun in the first match of the three T20 matches tomorrow, their eyes will also be on the preparation of their historic Test debuts within two weeks.
The dates for the first Test of Afghanistan against India were announced in January but the T20 series against Bangladesh was confirmed last month at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun.
After this program, Afghanistan has no option except for joint preparation of Tests and T20 teams. Two different teams of teams are training in pieces. The five-day team is training in the morning session while the T20 team is training in the evening session.
Although there are only five players in the Afghanistan team who have got the place in both the teams. These players are Captain Asghar Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, Rashid Khan, Mujib Jadran and Mohammad Nabi.
Coach Phil Simmons said that he wanted to practice more matches before the match against India but considering the present day schedule, he has to make his best effort in a limited time. The team has reached its second ‘home ground’ 10 days ago and under the guidance of Simmons, the players are doing a strict training.
Afghanistan’s team was earlier practicing in Greater Noida in hot summer and players are more comfortable in the situation of Dehradun. This stadium will be the 51st international stadium of India. However, due to stringent security, it is almost impossible for the players to walk in Uttarakhand’s capital. In the Pakistani month of Ramzan, training has also increased the difficulty of the players.
The world’s eighth team is better than Afghanistan’s ranking, but there is not much difference between the two teams. Between the two teams, only one T20 match was played in World Cup T20 2014 and Bangladesh won by nine wickets.
The Afghanistan team has since gone a long way in small format and its players are capable of defeating big teams in this format too. For Afghanistan, his star spinner Rashid Khan will be important, while Bangladesh will depend heavily on his inspirational captain Shakib Al Hasan.
Rashid, who played for ICC World XI in Lords directly after the IPL, is expected to join the national team soon.
The team of Bangladesh reached Dehradun four days ago and is gradually coming into the rhythm. The team has come here without a left-arm fast bowler Mushfiqur Rahman who missed the team for the final time due to an injury sustained during the IPL.