The Afghanistan cricket coach Phil Simmons said that the Afghans will understand the hardships of test cricket by the game against India on 14th June at Bangalore. This 55-year old coach said that it is difficult to train the team to test match and T20 formats at the same time
Though it is not the best practice session, he is working hard to make both the ends meet. The Afghans will play Bangladesh in the three T20I series at Dehradun prior to the one-off test against India at Bangalore. Simmons said that the test matches should be organized before limited over series. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to train the team but he was doing his best though the team did not play even a practice match before the announced test match to date.
It has been difficult with the T20 and Test squads training at the same time. But it is getting a bit easier as we are coming up to the game. That is how tours are planned now. You usually have Test matches first and then limited over series or vice versa. We just have to work around that,”
“You are definitely right at that (about lack of warm-up games ahead of Test). Especially playing the best team in the world (India) but that is how it is. I am not going to worry about. Though we did have a three-day practice match here,” said the former West Indies all-rounder.
“The good thing is that they have played four-day cricket (winning ICC Inter-Continental Cup twice). But it still doesn’t tell them how tough Test cricket is. I don’t think that is something I can teach them. That is something they have to understand when they play.
“We have just tried to make sure that they understand that Test cricket is twice as difficult. After the first Test match, they will know this level is so much higher and what they need to do to get to that level.”
“The reaction is still not there. It still has not sunk in yet. Emotion will hit them when they get to Bangalore. But I think they can handle the nerves. We have seen in last five-six years that they have stepped up in every format that they have played,” he said. In the past years, Afghanistan gave tough competition to the opponents in all the formats including four-day matches.
The team is still on their job of practice and did not show any emotions regarding their first ever test match.
The biggest challenge is to make them understand what Test cricket is all about. It is different to four-day cricket in a massive way. It is about getting them to understand the mindset around Test cricket, the patience, how hard it is to score runs. With them, it is a little bit technical and a lot more mental. Because you got to have played to understand how mentally tough it is to play for five days,”
“All we can try is to make sure their technique is as tight as possible. It will be much tougher for the batsmen than the bowlers who do get a second chance after being hit for a boundary.
“It is about them (Rashid and Mujeed) showing patience too along with our batsmen. Rashid did well against Ireland in four-day cricket last year. He got wickets. He played in practice games against England and he got wickets.”
He said that Rashid Khan is a youngster with the thinking power of a 30-year old man. He said that he respect the feelings of the players to fast in the month of Ramadan. The Afghanistan team immensely depends on spinners like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Zadran, Zahir Khan, and Hamza Hotak to encounter the formidable Indian team. In this context, the coach said
“Rashid is 19 but he has got the mind of a 30-year-old. He knows exactly what is expected of him. Mujeeb (17) is younger but we will have to see how he copes up with it,”
“I was them with last year also. I have kept fast a couple of times so I understand how difficult it is. Their culture is something they live with day in and day out. It is not the first time that they have played during Ramzan. It is their choice and I respect that,” he concluded.