India vs Afghanistan Test 2018 squad: 5 players to look out for

India vs Afghanistan Test Match, India vs Afghanistan 2018 squad, India vs Afghanistan Test 2018, Afghanistan Test squad, India Test Squad
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India vs Afghanistan Test Match, India vs Afghanistan 2018 squad, India vs Afghanistan Test 2018, Afghanistan Test squad, India Test Squad

The Indian cricket team have established itself as the world dominators in all the three formats of the sport, and can be summed up as a cricketing giant, who gives even teams like Australia, England and South Africa, among others, nightmares in their sleep. On the other hand, a cricketing infant is born recently, i.e. Afghanistan, and while it gained the Test cricket status by the ICC in 2017, the pool of talent in the country is promising. Therefore, to welcome Afghanistan to Test cricket, a one-off India vs Afghanistan Test match was scheduled for June, 2018, which is going to be a grand affair, partly, as it is the first time that Afghanistan will play a Test match and against India as well, but also because of the talented cricketers who would feature in the India vs Afghanistan 2018 squad (India Test squad, Afghanistan Test squad). In this article, we will look at five players who are to be watched out for in the India vs Afghanistan Test 2018.

Let us look at the five players who will take the India vs Afghanistan Test match by storm; Lokesh Rahul, Kuldeep Yadav, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Hardik Pandya.

1. Lokesh Rahul

Lokesh Rahul, the wicketkeeper-batsman, was part of India Under-19 team for the 2010 World Cup in New Zealand, and had started to show his excellent potential ever since. A batsman with a knack of having great technique rather than just hitting with power, KL Rahul looks up to former India cricketer, captain and currently the India A and U19 coach, Rahul Dravid, as his role model.

KL Rahul was drafted by the Royal Challengers Bangalore team ahead of IPL 2013, and owing to great performances both, in the IPL and the domestic cricketing circles, the 26-year-old had received a Team India call-up, following which he made his Test debut in Australia in 2014, and went on to score an exhilarating century at the SCG in only his second match. KL Rahul has since then been India’s on and off opener, and has shown exciting display of talent and technique in the longest format of the game, i.e. Test, which is why the batsman has booked a berth in the India Test Squad for the India vs Afghanistan Test 2018.

Playing in IPL 2018 season for Kings XI Punjab, KL Rahul has amassed 471 runs in 10 matches, scoring four fifties and a high score of 92 runs not-out.

2. Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav rose to fame in the Indian cricketing circle wearing the Test whites, and quickly became a fan-favorite as India’s very own ‘Chinaman’ bowler. Still remember when the 23-year-old made his debut against Australia at the Dharamsala Test match in 2017, taking 4 wickets in 23 overs and giving 68 runs with an excellent economy of 2.96.

With consistent performances across all formats of the game, Kuldeep Yadav came to the fore as one of the bowling mainstays for the national side, which is why he was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL 2018 auctions for INR 5.8 crore. Now, the ‘Chinaman’ bowler has earned a well-deserved spot in the India Test Squad for the India vs Afghanistan Test 2018.

3. Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan is arguably the best deal when talking about a combination of youth and talent. At just 18 years of age, the Afghanistan cricketer who is dubbed as the leading ‘Mystery Spinner’ of the modern cricketing era, is not only an indispensable part of the Afghanistan cricket team, but is also an invaluable part in the Indian Premier League, one of the major reasons why his team, Sunrisers Hyderabad – who bought him for whopping INR 9 crore at the IPL 2018 auction – are currently leading the IPL 2018 charts.

Rashid Khan has achieved a great deal of things within just a couple years of his debut, becoming the youngest captain of Afghanistan cricket team, and one of the youngest in World Cricket. Having played 11 matches for SRH in IPL 2018, Rashid Khan has shown consistency against some of the leading and most established batsmen in international cricket, taking 13 wickets. It goes without saying that Rashid Khan is the most deserving to be in the Afghanistan Test squad for the India vs Afghanistan Test 2018.

4. Mujeeb Ur Rahman a.k.a Mujeeb Zadran

Unlike the stereotypical success stories from Afghanistan which involve war-stricken and poverty-ridden backgrounds, Mujeeb Zadran’s story has been somewhat of a trend-breaker. Having grown up in a mansion in Khost, Mujeeb Zadran or Mujeeb Ur Rahman, as the 17-year-old is changeable known, had developed a keen interest in cricket while watching the 2012 World T20.

Blessed with his own private practicing facilities, Mujeeb revealed that he was helped in developing his spinning prowess by watching Youtube videos of Ajantha Mendis, following which he had started to attend his first cousin’s (Noor Ali Zadran) cricket academy to hone his skills. Owing to his spinning sharpness, Mujeeb Zadran was bought by the Kings XI Punjab at the IPL 2018 auctions for INR 4 crore, and has taken 14 wickets in the 10 matches that he has played for the Punjab side so far. A promising talent in the Afghanistan Test squad, will be one of the five players to look out in the India vs Afghanistan Test 2018.

5. Hardik Pandya

Making his debut for Team India in 2017 against Sri Lanka, Hardik Pandya quickly rose in Indian cricket as a star-all rounder. The flamboyant Baroda cricketer is not one to back out from a adversarial situation, and rather takes pleasure in upping his game when the situation demands it of him, giving no signs of pressure or nervousness. A fast bowler who hits the deck hard, Pandya is also a big hitter, who slams boundaries when it is least expected of him.

If he is not batting or bowling, Pandya is performing acrobatic fielding stunts on the outfield, something which has made him into a complete package who is suited for the international level wearing the national colours. Playing for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2018, Pandya has scored 188 runs in 10 matches, with a high score of 50, and has taken 16 wickets in the same number of games, becoming a fan-favorite, both in the Indian team and Mumbai Indians. He will be one of the stars who will have all attention on them entering the India vs Afghanistan Test match 2018, for the India Test squad.

Here is the India Test squad for the India vs Afghanistan Test 2018:

India squad for Afghanistan Test: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Wriddhiman Saha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur

Watch: Harsha Bhogle picks his all-time IPL XI


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