Afghanistan coach makes a huge claim about Virat Kohli

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Phil Simmons asserts that Virat Kohli is not the Indian team

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SportsCafe Desk

06/14/2018

Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons has asserted that his team is happy to play against India with or without skipper Virat Kohli, who had opted to sit out in the one-off match. He also stated that the team has prepared well to compete as they go through the transition from white ball to red ball.

The first time when Afghanistan played against India was in the 2010 World Twenty20, where India went on to an easy seven-wicket win. A newbie to international cricket then, the whole Afghanistan team was seen lining up to take pictures with the Indian players. However, just when the side thought that they were very well acquainted with India’s strength in the second time in 2012, they met a certain Virat Kohli and couldn’t contain their fandom yet again. The player was a part of numerous selfies that flooded the social media.

“Kohli is a big deal in Afghanistan. People love how he plays and generally, he has a big fan following,” Mohammad Shahzad had then said when asked about their infatuation with the future Indian skipper, as quoted by Wisden India.

Since then, India have played Afghanistan in one ODI during the 2014 Asia Cup and Kohli wasn’t available for that game. However, over the years, the Afghan players, courtesy of IPL, have learned to overcome their fan goggles and take on the Indian star as the brilliant batsman that he has been. The likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman have scalped Kohli’s wicket numerous times in IPL and just when they thought they would actually face the Indian skipper on the highest stage, Kohli opted to prioritize his Surrey county stint instead, which eventually had to be called off due to a neck injury. While this was definitely a source of disappointment for the players, coach Simmons has stated that the players have been excited to play India with or without Kohli. 

“I think there will always be a bit of disappointment for the players not to be on the same field as Virat. But at the same time, we look at it as win the Test match and beat India, we don’t beat Virat. So we are disappointed he is not playing but a little bit happy that we are not going to bowl to him all the time. We are happy to be here and playing India, Virat is not India,” said Simmons, reported Wisden India 

Afghanistan have shown tremendous growth and skill in limited-overs cricket over the last few years, and this would be their first step in Test cricket after gaining full-member status in June 2017. Hence, no one knows what to expect of them.

“Our preparation has been very good. Only four players will be making the transition from white-ball cricket to red-ball cricket in a short span. The rest have been training with the red ball. Fortunately, the three fast bowlers were not in the T20 squad so they were concentrating on Test cricket. 

“The mental part comes from the way to train. How long you bat, how long you bowl in nets. How hard you train in the nets. That’s the only way you prepare mentally because when you get out there then you understand what it takes. As the captain said that they have played four-day cricket so they have a fair idea… the good thing about it is that they learn quickly,”Simmons explained.

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