'Test cricket will be twice as difficult for Afghans'

'Test cricket will be twice as difficult for Afghans'

Phil Simmons feels Rashid Khan will have to show patience to succeed against India in the one-off Test.

Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons says no amount of training can make his players fully ready for their inaugural Test against India and they will find out how tough five-day cricket when they take the field in Bengaluru on June 14.

It is not the best preparation for the Afghans ahead of the historic Test but Simmons is working hard with the two squads simultaneously -- one that takes on Bangladesh in a three match T20 series starting from Sunday and the other which will face a formidable India in the one-off game in Bengaluru.

“It has been difficult with the T20 and Test squads training at the same time. But it is getting a bit easier as we are coming up to the game. That is how tours are planned now. You usually have Test matches first and then limited over series or vice versa. We just have to work around that,” said Simmons who has been overseeing joint preparations at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium for close to weeks.

The team was earlier training in Greater Noida before moving to its second ‘home ground’ here ahead of the Bangladesh series. Going into the all-important game against India, the team has not even played a competitive practice game as it is busy with the upcoming T20s.

“You are definitely right at that (about lack of warm-up games ahead of Test). Especially playing the best team in the world (India) but that is how it is. I am not going to worry about. Though we did have a three day practice match here,” said the former West Indies all-rounder.

Afghanistan have gradually improved in every format they have played, including four-day cricket. However, the fact that they have not got a taste of Test cricket makes the job all the more challenging.

“The good thing is that they have played four-day cricket (winning ICC Inter-Continental Cup twice). But it still doesn’t tell them how tough Test cricket is. I don’t think that is something I can teach them. That is something they have to understand when they play.

“We have just tried to make sure that they understand that Test cricket is twice as difficult. After the first Test match, they will know this level is so much higher and what they need to do to get to that level.”

Asked whether the likes of Rashid and Mujeeb can deliver in red-ball cricket where the batsmen are not under any pressure to score off every ball as they are in T20s, Simmons said: “It is about them (Rashid and Mujeed) showing patience too along with our batsmen. Rashid did well against Ireland in four-day cricket last year. He got wickets. He played in practice games against England and he got wickets."

Simmons said Rashid's lack of experience will not stand in his road to success in the longest format as the leg-spinner has a "30-year-old mind in a 19-year-old body".

“Rashid is 19 but he has got the mind of a 30-year-old. He knows exactly what is expected of him. Mujeeb (17) is younger but we will have to see how he copes up with it,” the coach said.