Debasis Sen, Bengaluru: Team India team will look to sort out a few areas of concern as they take on debutant Afghanistan in the one-off test match at Chinnaswamy stadium starting from Thursday. The test match will provide a perfect platform for the team management to try out a few combinations with the absence of captain Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Wriddhiman Saha.
Currently the No 1 test team of the world, India had a very successful season at home in 2016-17, but Virat Kohli ’s team faltered in the first assignment outside Asia losing the series against South Africa 2-1. Although the team lost the series, but the win at the Wanderers on a difficult pitch will give them the self-belief to do well in England.
With two difficult overseas tours lined up, the Afghanistan test match sets a perfect opportunity for the trio – KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav and Dinesh Karthik to make a strong statement.
It will be a great opportunity for Umesh Yadav as he will share the new ball with Ishant in the absence of both Shami and Bumrah. The Vidarbha pacer was neglected during the test series in South Africa but an impressive performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) will give him the confidence to do well against the Afghans.
The Afghanistan test match will also see experienced Tamil Nadu stumper Dinesh Karthik making a comeback in this format after a gap of almost 8 years. The Knight Riders captain has been in exceptional form in the Indian Premier League, amassing 498 runs at an average 49.80.
With Saha injured, Karthik was preferred over Parthiv Patel and Risabh Pant, considering his good technique and a great record in England (263 runs at an average of 43.83), Karthik is a better option to make it to the squad as a reserve batsman and wicket-keeper and a good performance against Afghanistan will enable him to stake a claim to be considered as a first choice wicket-keeper.
The selectors will also keep a close watch on in-form KL Rahul as the Karnataka opener will look to cement his place at the top of the order. It was evident during the IPL that he has the perfect technique to be successful at the top of the order. A good show against the Afghans will see him walking in the middle to open the innings for India at Edgbaston on August 05.