Ruthless India wont take Afghanistan lightly: Rahane

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Indian Primer Minister Narendra Modi had words of encouragement for the Afghanistan cricket team as they brace for their Test debut beginning Thursday.

The strife-torn nation secured Test status a year ago along with Ireland, who lost their debut match to Pakistan in Dublin last month.

Afghanistan aren't considered man enough to threaten the hosts who have a rather extraordinary record at home in this format.

"Teams depend on 11 players, not one", he told DNA India.

Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane (R) and Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai.

"We are going to focus on our strengths, our positives".

Both Ireland and Afghanistan were granted Full Member and Test status last June. The one factor that make them a plausible threat to all teams playing them across formats.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief Atif Mashal also read out a statement from Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani.

Factually, he was correct as Kuldeep's 24 first-class games including two Test matches is 13 more than the aggregate of 11 four-day games between three of their specialist spinners - Rashid Khan (4), Zahir Khan (7) and Zadran (0).

If the IPL is anything to go by, these Afghan spinners would be relentless and on target nine out of ten times.

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The big boys are having a tough time against "minnows" of late.

There was a neat surprise at the pre-match ceremony, where Salim Durani, the only Afghanistan-born Test cricketer before today (he was born in Kabul), handed over a memento to Stanikzai.

Afghan players got a new reminder of the horrors in their country last month when an attack on a cricket match in Khan s home city of Jalalabad killed eight people and wounded 45. India, meanwhile, are without a few key players. There was a markable difference between their seamers and spinners in the three T20Is against Bangladesh and if India prepare a greener surface to keep the Afghan spinners at bay, the visitor's plans could backfire.

The match between India and Afghanistan can be dismissed as a walkover for India - the world's top team according to International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings vis a vis newcomers Afghanistan.

Hailing the feat achieved by Afghanistan, Modi said it had come in "challenging and difficult" circumstances.

India, sans their regular skipper Virat Kohli along with two frontline bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, will look to record a comprehensive win before embarking on their long and gruelling tour of England.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman: He was unknown identity till Kings XI Punjab had picked for a auction in the rcently concluded Indian Premier League. "It is an honour for me as well to be captaining in this Test match", he said.

They have no way of ekeing out a draw in the Test, let alone winning it, if they can not put up sizeable totals.

It was an under-19 game, they were playing amongst each other, it was a kind of a trial game.

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