Team India wins hearts with this sporting gesture

Elena Summers
June 17, 2018

If cricket can not look after its own, if it can not strengthen the base it already has before it tries to expand, it may remain forever a game played merely by countries of the Commonwealth. Struggling with the timing in the initial stages, the opener was more than happy to wait and watch from the other end as Dhawan made hay.

Cricket history otherwise is unflattering to teams playing their first Test.

One guesses that it is the same scenario across the world (48 teams to participate in Fifa World Cup of 2026) today but Test cricket is in such a need of preservation at the roots today that cosmetic changes in the form of day-night game or four-day matches are not going to help its survival. There is no comparison.

For the two days that the Test lasted, India were relentless in pursuit of victory.

Although the visitors lost the Test match, Afghanistan learnt that they had a lot to catch up on.

Essentially though, this match was about Afghanistan. The Afghans' dream of scripting a fairytale turned into a virtual nightmare as they were found to be painfully short of experience for the longest format and were bowled out for 109 and 103 in pursuit of India's first innings total of 474 all out on Friday.

All-rounders Hardik Pandya (10 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7 not out) survived a few scares before heading back undivided when the umpires dislodged the bails for the day, affected by two rain interruptions at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium here.

Their batting is still not up to Test standard but India's stand-in skipper expected that things will get better.

The pacers might have created the impact early on, but it was important for Ashwin to build the pressure on the Afghanistan batsmen and he did just that by picking wickets at regular intervals.

India-Afghanistan players pose with the trophy together. That's the best way for us to close this gap. Had it been a dustbowl, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman could have been deadly. He is now the world's top-ranked Twenty20 bowler. You can never take them lightly. On a turning wicket, Rashid could be more risky than any other spinner.

It was Afghanistan's first test match ever, and the beating that it received from the Indian camp would take a long time to perish.

But India's bowling was tough to contend with. The spin twins bagged six wickets between them to bring Afghanistan's downfall. Dawlat Zadran is injured and Shapoor Zadran is not in the squad. Phil Simmons, Afghanistan head coach, was blunt in his assessment when asked if nerves had hampered his side. It was awarded Associate Member status in 2013 and finally got Full Membership in June 2017. But once the match ended in the hosts' favour, Rahane won several hearts with his great gesture.

Rahane, for one, insisted this was "just the beginning" for them.

Afghanistan qualified for 2012 ICC World Twenty20 held in Sri Lanka as the runners up of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier and joined India and England in the group stage. They also beat West Indies in the final group match of the tournament. The credit goes to Afghanistan. Afghanistan also took on Australia Cricket Team in an ODI at Sharjah in August 2012.

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