Afghanistan were brought down to earth when they were beaten by India in their historic maiden Test inside two days. Afghanistan came into the Test post 3-0 T20I series whitewash against Bangladesh. But Afghanistan failed to live up to expectations, getting bowled out twice in two sessions, marking an embarrassing record for themselves in their debut Test itself. Afghanistan’s trump card Rashid Khan came a cropper against India, going for 154 runs for two wickets in 34.5 overs.
Rashid Khan had gone wicketless for over 100 runs in 17 overs in the first two session of the first day’s play as Shikhar Dhawan and Co. hammered Rashid Khan’s bowling to all corners of the ground. Rashid Khan was guilty of trying too many variations that failed to leave much of an impact on Indian batsmen. Dhawan toyed with Rashid’s bowling, smashing him for over 40 runs in the 20-odd balls he faced from the leg-spinner.
But better sense prevailed as Rashid Khan came on to bowl just leg-spinners and bagged two wickets and brought down his expensive economy rate.
Former Australian Test opener Mathew Hayden had few words of advise for the young spinner. Hayden recollected what went wrong with Rashid in the Bengaluru Test. Hayden, who was doing commentary for the match, said that Rashid paid the price for being too aggressive.
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“Firstly, he bowled with too attacking fields early, on a first day Test wicket. It was not day four or five, it was first day (pitch). You needed conservative fields. He was really aggressive and paid the price for it,” Hayden was quoted as saying by the International Business Times.
Hayden was of the view that not only Rashid, but Afghanistan’s full team’s anxious behaviour affected their performance as they were playing their first Test. “I think he was a bit anxious, like they all were, that they have arrived at Test cricket. That overzealous behaviour hasn’t led to a good performance,” Hayden said.
Even former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly has a piece of advice for the young spinner. “Rashid Khan bowled well in patches and it must have been a good learning exercise for him bowling those long spells. He needs to give the champion Kumble a ring as he is not far away,” Ganguly wrote in his column.
The legendary player from Kolkata further advised Rashid to adopt a new strategy for Test cricket. “Test cricket is about bowling maidens and putting pressure back on the opposition, especially when batsmen are not coming at you, as it happens in T20,” wrote Ganguly.
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But nevertheless, Ganguly was full praise for Afghanistan team and said that they should learn from the mistakes committed in the Bengaluru Test to grow as Test cricketers. “The Afghan boys shouldn’t worry about how long the Test lasted but should rewind the entire two days to realise what they need to do to get better in the longer format of the game,” Ganguly wrote.