Only Stanikzai, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman featured in their 3-0 T20I whitewash of Bangladesh in Dehrarun earlier this month. Kuldeep Yadav's contentious selection may or may not have contributed to Anil Kumble losing the coaching job, but there's every chance that the Rahane-Kuldeep combination will once again be seen at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday for a Test that marks Afghanistan's entry into the big league.
While the team is on the brink of realising a long-cherished dream, captain Asghar Stanikzai has has said that they are not nervous ahead of the match. Rahane, who stepped in as the skipper due to the unavailability of Virat Kohli, stated that it was an "honour" to lead the national team in this historic event.
When will the India v/s Afghanistan Test match be played?
"As a Test team, we can not take anyone for granted because cricket is a amusing game".
Preparation wise, Afghanistan picked two vastly different squads for the T20Is against Bangladesh and their inaugural Test. "We know that playing a Test match is always special", Rahane said here on Wednesday.
India Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur. "Every team feels they are much better, but on that given day it is important what your mindset is and how you handle pressure", he said. They are quality spinners, they back each other, they enjoy bowling with each other even in the nets and in the match.
Stanikzai admitted his inexperienced unit faced a daunting task in the long format but said they were determined to put their best foot forward. He has not played Test cricket.
"When I played with them (Afghanistan) in Ireland, it was a little more greener than this and it still turned", he said.
"Getting back to Test cricket from (Twenty20) is all about tuning your mind rather than focusing on your skills", Rahane said.
The live telecast of the India vs Afghanistan one-off Test match will begin at 9.30 am IST every morning. "We are happy to be here and playing India, Virat is not India".