India captain Ajinkya Rahane feels “visualising Test match situations” during practice will go a long way in preparing Afghanistan for the unforgiving five-day format.
India beat Afghanistan by an innings and 262 runs inside two days in what turned out to be a complete no contest after the visitors were bowled out for 109 and 103 in both the innings.
“For Afghanistan, it’s just the beginning I think. With their bowling, they can do a bit of damage to any other team. It’s still a learning phase for them,” Rahane, like an elder statesman had words of encouragement for Ashgar Stanikzai’s men.
Their batting is still not up to Test standard but India’s stand-in skipper expected that things will get better.
“More and more they play any opponent, they will learn from them. It was just a beginning, for them. You cannot blame them. They tried their best. After first innings, they were trying to stay on wicket, but it’s still a beginning. It is about playing those matches,” he said.
“Attitude” and “patience” are two aspects that Afghan batsmen will have to inculcate, feels one of India’s finest Test batsmen in recent times.
“Test cricket is a lot about attitude and patience and as I mentioned, with that bowling they can damage any team. If 2-3 guys can bat for longer period of time, they can be a decent Test side,” Rahane sounded hopeful.
“It’s not always about the real match situation but creating those situations in practice also. Thinking and visualising as batsmen about how they are going to play against each opponent. It’s all in the mind because skill wise, every player is similar. If they can get mentally tough and fine tune their technique, it will be good,” said Rahane.
In a nice little gesture, Rahane called the entire Afghanistan team for a photo opportunity and even offered rival skipper Asghar Stanikzai to hold the winner’s trophy.
For him, it’s about building relationships irrespective of the outcome of the game.
“I have always believed winning and losing is part and parcel. Your effort, attitude and intention should always be about winning but you get to learn plenty off the field as players, like respecting each other. I learnt a lot by playing against Afghanistan.
“Their players were asking Indian players, their willingness to learn could be seen, they wanted to know what they need to learn to do well in Tests. Winning and losing is not that important, what you learn on and off the field is also very important.”
Talking about India’s performance, Rahane was all praise for his bowlers who got a record 20 wickets on the same day.
“Patience is the key as a bowling unit. For me, it was really easy as Ishant had just played county games and was in good rhythm. Umesh had bowled well in the IPL. These guys are experienced enough to know what to do, so it was really simple.
“Kuldeep was on the bench and he actually did well in a Test match (earlier) and in the shorter formats. Jadeja and Ashwin you all know how good they are. So for me, it was just standing at slip and concentrating,” said Rahane, whose next assignment will be turning up for India A in a warm-up game against England Lions (A) at Worcester from July 16-19.