Sourav Ganguly believes India's one-off Test against Afghanistan will be a test of character for stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane who has been omitted from limited overs team. Ganguly also added that Afghanistan should treat the match as an opportunity rather than being pressurized by the mega event.
Afghanistan have begun their historic Test against India where Ajinkya Rahane has been given the responsibility to lead India in Virat Kohli’s absence. Rahane, who has been India’s batting mainstay for quite few years would be keen on making a big impact in this Test after being dropped from the limited overs side that will tour Ireland and England. Writing in his column for TOI, Sourav Ganguly said that Rahane has been unfortunate to miss out on ODI squad against England.
"He (Rahane) must be thoughtful after the roller-coaster ride he has had. After being left out of the first two Test matches in South Africa, he came back to play a crucial role in the win in the third match there, and now in the next Test, he is the captain,” Ganguly wrote.
The former Indian captain added that Rahane should clarify his role in the Indian team and believes the only way to come out of this problem is by scoring runs.
“What is my right status as a cricketer? He has to push all these thoughts out of the way and score runs, which will solve everything. He needs to remember that players go through this in their career; this is a small crisis and he needs to focus, keep it simple, bite the bullet, and just score runs," he added.
On Afghanistan’s Test debut Ganguly said that the Afghan team will be tested and it is the longest format of game that separates men from boys.He also acknowledged the talent their team possess.
"The Afghan cricketers have already played a few formats of the game but they will realize that this is the best and the biggest, the one that separates the men from the boys. There is talent in Afghanistan cricket, with the exploits of Rashid Khan already being a big talking point, and I am sure that all of them are looking forward to making a mark in Test cricket. This is a historic moment for their country, and they should feel happy that they are starting off against one of the top teams of the game, because it is always best to test oneself against the best in the business,” Ganguly opined.
Ganguly further added they should not pressurize themselves but take it as opportunity to test themselves on biggest stage.
"If I were an Afghan cricketer, I would like to see this as an opportunity. There is a very fine line between pressure and opportunity and the Afghan boys should tread the path of opportunity to test themselves out on the big stage."