undergroundnewsroom.com May 27, 2018

Ajinkya Rahane to captain for inaugural Test against Afghanistan

10 May 2018, 02:10 | Nina Mathis

Karun Nair replaces Kohli for Afghanistan Test, Kaul in T20 squad

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

Kaul, who has 13 wickets at an economy rate of 7.05 this IPL, is also part of India's T20I team for the Ireland and England series.

"India-England series will be a competitive series, it will be a good series".

The national selectors met and BCCI have announced a fifteen-man squad for India's solitary home Test against Afghanistan, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru next month.

After facing off with Afghanistan, India will travel to the United Kingdom where they will start their campaign with a two-match Twenty-20 worldwide (T-20I) series against Ireland. That match is scheduled to be played from 25 to 28 June. Surrey's county game against Yorkshire at carborough is scheduled from June 25-28.

There had been reports Ashwin and Jadeja might both be rested but it emerged a day before the selection that Ashwin had not pursued his talks with Worcestershire because he had committed to playing this Test.

"He's very keen that the Indian team [does well in England] and he himself wants to do extremely well in English conditions. It is a great opportunity for us to win the series".

"We are giving equal importance to the Test match against Afghanistan just like we gave to the Test series that took place in June 1932". It is not that he is playing in England at the time, it is that the captain is missing an India Test that is worrisome.

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However, it is highly unlikely that Nair will get a look-in in the playing XI against Afghanistan.

The ghosts of the 2014 tour, in which India went down to the hosts 1-3 in a five-Test rubber despite grabbing the series lead with a victory at Lord's, has propelled the likes of regular skipper Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma, etc to fly to England well before the tour to practise their trade in the County Championship.

The other opening slot is a toss-up between KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan but Rahul has been in scintillating form in the IPL and should make the cut, unless India really need a left-right combination at the top, which is unlikely.

Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are named only in the one-off Test against Afghanistan. Hardik Pandya is the only all-rounder while the seasoned duo of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami are expected to share the new ball.

In the limited overs version, Kaul, who has been a stupendous performer at the domestic level, got the nod.

Karun Nair and Kuldeep Yadav have been included in the 15-man squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, as BCCI announced the team on Tuesday.

T20 squad against Ireland and England: Kohli (c), Dhawan, Rohit, Rahul, Raina, Pandey, Dhoni, Karthik, Chahal, Kuldeep, Sundar, Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah, Pandya, Kaul, Umesh.

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