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Afghanistan will look to beat India irrespective of Virat Kohli’s availability, says coach

28 Apr 2018 CricTracker

Phil Simmons. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The historic Test match between Afghanistan and India will mark the former’s maiden voyage into the foray of the longest format in International cricket. However, if reports are to be believed, the Indian captain, Virat Kohli may choose to skip the match in order to play County Cricket. While this decision from Kohli has stirred a nationwide debate, Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons feels that his team will be intent on defeating India irrespective of Kohli’s availability.

The one-off Test will be held in mid-June at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru. In a recent interview, Simmons elucidated on the importance of the game for Afghanistan, for whom it’ll be a big step in international Cricket. He also spoke extensively on the inaugural season of the Afghan Premier League that’ll be held in UAE later this year. Afghanistan, along with Ireland, were awarded full-membership by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year and have an extensive tour against Ireland lined up in August 2018.

Phil Simmons speaks about upcoming Test against India

As reported by Hindustan Times, speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Afghan Premier League, Simmons said, “If India play Afghanistan and Afghanistan win the Test, nobody will say Kohli wasn’t there, Cheteshwar Pujara wasn’t there or (Ajinkya) Rahane wasn’t there. It’s India’s choice what they do with their players. If we win, we have beaten India. We will take that.”

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Kohli is expected to play for Surrey in County Cricket this summer in order to prepare himself ahead of the extensive England Tour. He had an abysmal England tour back in 2014, where he’d managed to score just 134 runs in 10 innings and will be looking to improve vastly on that track record.

As a new venture, the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Friday confirmed that the inaugural five-team Afghan Premier League will most likely be played in Sharjah, UAE in October 2018. The tournament will sport the same format as the Indian Premier League (IPL), with each team fielding seven Afghan and four overseas players.

Simmons expressed his appreciation for the initiative and said, “It’s a huge step. 4 It shows they are looking forward to be a big player in cricketing world. To take an initiative like this shows they have an ambition, they want better teams for their players.”

The Afghanistan coach went on to laud youngster Rashid Khan for his phenomenal performances in the IPL. “Rashid (Khan) just came out from nowhere. Same goes with Mujeeb (Zadran). Luckily, Afghanistan has this league now and a lot of people from around the world are going to watch the young players. They (young players) might be found sooner than Rashid and Mujeeb. We might have a 15-year-old coming and making his mark,” he said. On being quizzed about the players he’d like to see participate in the Afghan Premier League, Simmons opined, “We know Indian players might not be available, which is understandable. It would be nice to see some big T20 names like Chris Gayle, David Miller participate.”

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