"Go for a green track against Afghanistan," says Lalchand Rajput
For the last three months, nothing has befuddled batsmen in world cricket more than Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman plying their trades on the slow, and sometimes gripping surfaces of India. The ultimate testament to their mind-numbing displays of skill being both of them breaching the defenses of Virat Kohli to knock him over this IPL.
With India to host Afghanistan for their first ever Test match next week in Bengaluru, speculations are arising greatly about Afghanistan fancying an upset against the number 1 ranked Test side in the world. With India without their best batsman and captain, Virat Kohli, their chances become all the more enhanced, given that the Afghans will already be riding high on confidence after a fresh triumph over Bangladesh in the T20 series played in Dehradun.
Given the circumstances, opinions have started being voiced already as to how the spin threat possessed by Afghanistan can be neutralized. Former Indian opener and coach of Afghanistan, who is now associated with the Zimbabwean side after their recent personnel wipe-out, Lalchand Rajput has exclaimed the need to avoid making a spinning track at the Chinaswamy.
"On a turning wicket, Rashid will be dangerous. If we give Afghanistan a turning wicket, we'll perish, because they have at least three good spinners," he was quoted saying by Times of India. He emphasized the need to manufacture a seaming track. "Their fast bowling attack is comparatively much weaker. Dawlat Zadran is injured and Shapoor Zadran is past his prime. The best option for India is to go for a 'green top' and unleash their pacers, who can then even finish off the match inside three days," felt Rajput.
He also came up with a logical theory as to how Rashid Khan can be neutralized. "It's very simple. If you try to hit him, you'll end up giving away your wicket. To negotiate him, you've to play on the front foot, and not go on the back foot at all. You've to try and not overpower him, but milk him for singles," Rajput said.
It is quite easy to preach from the sidelines than actually take charge of things out on the field, given what we have seen of Rashid and Mujeeb, they have the ability to take the pitch out of the equation and work their magic from out of their wrists, not from off the deck presented to them. That being said, India boasts a very sturdy batting line-up who have repeatedly warded off the much-feared Rangana Herath thrice in the last three years with overwhelming success.