BCCI announces Test team against Afghanistan

Virat Kohli had hinted leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal to prepare for the Afghan Test raising a possible question of Chahal replacing Ashwin in the squad

Ajinkya Rahane will lead the side in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has opted for a county stint with Surrey instead. And that Ishant Sharma, who is playing county as well, will be included in the Test side. Kohli will return to lead the side for the two T20 contests against Ireland on June 27 and 29 before India embark on a long tour. But, if the BCCI believes that the primacy of Test cricket is worth preserving, then they have a amusing way of showing it, allowing their captain to acclimatise elsewhere.

It is a reality of global schedules as they stand that there isn't enough room for everyone to be available to play every opponent, every time. India's refusal to play a day-night Test in the Australian summer though has not.

Amitabh Chaudhary, the acting BCCI secretary, opened his address to the media in Bangalore by comparing the Afghanistan Test to India's historic 1932 foray against England, at Lord's in 1932.

Among those who missed the bus for the T20s against Ireland (two T20s) and England (three T20s) are Jaydev Unadkat - who featured in the Nidahas T20 tri-series in Sri Lanka - Axar Patel and Thakur. If Afghanistan do upset all calculations and actually go on and beat India, then the history books will record it as a win for Afghanistan against India, there won't be asterisks noting that a premier batsman was absent.

MSK Prasad, Chairman of the Senior Selection Committee, echoed the sentiment, saying that Kohli was sitting out of the Afghanistan Test "for a good cause".

Afghanistan will play their inaugural test match from June 14 in Bengaluru's M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

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The bits on selection that seemed more intriguing were the fates of India's vice-captains.

Rahane, meanwhile, will not travel to England for the limited overs tour while KL Rahul, who was dropped from the ODIs against South Africa, has made the squad in all the three formats. To represent your country is the most special thing in the world.

Rahane was tasked with making the No. 4 position his own earlier this year in South Africa, after a host of options since the 2017 Champions Trophy didn't live up to expectations.

However, the World Cup-winning Australian captain Michael Clarke is surprised with the Indian skipper's decision to skip the one-off Test. Rahul's luck with injuries has hurt him, but as he has shown in IPL 2018, he can be a white-ball force to reckon with.

Afghanistan may be too happy with the chance to play Test cricket to complain, but there is little getting away from the fact that their team, and the game of Test cricket, has been disrespected, with the best possible intentions, of course.



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