Afghanistan’s inaugural Test against world no.1 side India will begin on Thursday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru and the battle of words between the two teams is intensifying in the lead up to the historic match.
After Afghanistan skipper Asghar Stanikzai’s comment on the touring spinners being better than their Indian counterparts, batsman Karun Nair has responded in similar fashion by saying that the Afghan tweakers are yet to prove their mettle in the longest format of the game.
Speaking at a pre-match conference, Nair said, “That was a big statement to make considering Afghanistan haven’t played Test cricket. All our spinners are proven wicket-takers in Test cricket, so there is nothing much to say there.”
Even though Afghanistan spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have garnered a lot of praise in the recent past, Nair feels that Test cricket is a totally different ball game and it is going to be a challenge for them to do well.
“We all have played Rashid in the IPL. I think Test matches are a totally different ball game. No one has played him in the longer format, and I’m sure he hasn’t bowled much too with the red ball. I think it’s going to be a challenge for everyone.”
As far as mystery spinner Mujeeb is concerned, Nair said, “I can read it from the hand. I think that’s the best way to play spin. He is a good bowler but we’ll have to wait and watch what happens in the Test match.”
Nair had a great start to his career as he scored a triple-century against England, but soon his form fizzled out, and was dropped from the Test team in 2017. The Karnataka lad is making a comeback after a gap of one year and is hoping to make the most of the opportunity.
“I am very happy to make a comeback in the Test squad. It’s been a while now since I was part of the Test team. I have worked really hard in the past one and a half year and I know I have become a better cricketer. I am looking forward to do well with the team.
“For me still there is a long way to go. I still have this Test and an India A series to play. I am not thinking too far ahead and obviously the A series is in England, so the preparations are going on well. But I want to do well in this Test first and then move forward.”
The 26-year-old mentioned that he is not bogged down by the pressure of scoring a triple-hundred early on in his career, and stressed that it’s a great milestone to have.
“It’s been a long time since my triple hundred. I don’t really think about it. It’s a good feeling to have such a milestone to your name, and to be the second person from India to score a triple century, but I have moved on. I am looking to win matches for the team and play well in situations where my team needs me.
“In the last one and a half year out of the team, I have tried to improve my skills. I have done a lot in the time I have spent out of the team. I scored some runs in the domestic season as well. So I know from within that I have become better from what I was two years back. I would like to take that confidence to the games I play in future,” he concluded.