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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Afghan Capt & Team learn how harsh Test Cricket could be !!

For the connoisseur of the game – it is the real Test ! Test cricket is many wonderful things,  it is also a harsh reality check.  It could expose teams brutally.  All arrangements could go hay-wire – time & again, we have seen teams lose their balance and squander the advantage in the first session on day 1 itself.  AT Bengaluru, Afghans realized it with the harsh shock that started with a century before lunch and ended with a defeat in day 2 itself.  Mohammad Asghar Stanikzai, the Captain and his team (11 debuts) for sure have realized that there  is a long way to go for Afghanistan.  

A week ahead of his team's inaugural Test match in Bengaluru, Asghar Stanikzai raised the volume of pre-match exchanges with the claim that Afghanistan's spinners are better than India's.

Yes. Better than Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin, ranked No. 4 and 5 among the world's Test bowlers. "The whole world knows that [we have very good spinners in] Rashid Khan, Mujeeb [Ur Rahman], [Mohammad] Nabi, Rahmat [Shah], Zahir [Khan]," Stanikzai, the Afghanistan captain, told ESPNcricinfo. "In Afghanistan, the brilliant thing is that a lot of the young talent that is coming through are spinners, because they all follow Rashid, they follow Nabi, so because of that our spin department is very strong from below.

Gros Islet is located near the northern tip of the island country of Saint Lucia. Originally a quiet fishing village, it has gone on to become one of the more popular tourist destinations in the country.  In 1778, as a retaliation for the declaration of war on the British by the French, the British navy captured the island of Saint Lucia from the French, and built a naval base at Gros Islet Bay – now Lankans are playing West Indies in a Test match there.

Lahiru Kumara delivered 13.3 hostile overs, and Kasun Rajitha was probing on Test debut, but a half-century from Devon Smith drove West Indies foreward on a rain-hit second day. They stand only 135 runs behind Sri Lanka, with eight wickets still in hand. Only 42.3 overs were delivered in the day, the rain arriving during lunch to wash out much of the afternoon and evening sessions, before stumps were eventually drawn due to bad light at 5:55 pm.

Back at Bangalore things happened rapidly as Afghans folded shortly.  The score card reads : India 474 (Dhawan 107, Vijay 105, Pandya 71, Ahmadzai 3-51) beat Afghanistan 109 (Nabi 24, Ashwin 4-27, Jadeja 2-18) & 103 (Shahidi 36*, Jadeja 4-17, Umesh 3-26) by an innings and 262 runs  .. .. for a brief while, on day 1 – the final session, Afghans dominated but the score itself was too good as play did not even go into day 3.

Purely on numbers it was a colossal defeat, by an innings and 262 runs, and the flattening reality of being bowled out twice in a day - only India and Zimbabwe had suffered that before - will take a while to get over. At different points in the day, Afghanistan were done in by different bowlers. Ravindra Jadeja got the last piece of the pie, finishing the second innings with 4 for 17. Their first innings of 109 lasted a session, between lunch and tea, and their second innings of 103 did not last much longer. India needed only 66.3 overs to take 20 wickets and complete their first ever two-day Test win. Afghanistan will need a lot more cricket against established Test teams' A sides if this promotion to Test is to work, their coach Phil Simmons. 

I had earlier posted on product  ‘the most sought after Cricket Bat’ nay, not the one Cricket stars of Indian Premier League use –  of a different elite league branded ‘Haath ka Bana’ … for those travelling around India would well know the artisans proudly claiming  “ साहेब यह काम मेरेहाथ का बना है .” – of its suave Prashant Singh and the Company -   India Art Investment Company whose  tag line is ‘preserving culture - creating livelihood’.  True to their mission they are working with over 750 artisan families across india - which translate into - approximately 3000 artisans.   Here is a ‘hath ka bana’ – hand painted bat from Tamil Nadu that was presented to Afghanistan team captain Mohmd Ashgar Stanikzai on their debut.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2018.

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