Dinesh Karthik lauded Afghanistan for making it to the Test arena but stopped short of saying their lack experience will dictate the outcome of the one-off Test starting on Thursday (June 12).
Alongside Ireland, Afghanistan gained Test status last year and are now a couple of days away from their maiden contest at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Karthik couldn’t help but wax lyrical on their journey.
“It’s been beautiful,” said Karthik at a press conference on Tuesday. “Their journey has been an inspiration for international cricket. Not many knew they play, but for them to come in through the qualifiers and secure a World Cup berth, do so well and compete with the other teams, I give them a lot of credit.
“Everyone knows it’s a tough place and the turmoil that they are going through, but in spite of that, they are able to inspire people with their performances. They’re able to produce big players even in a tournament like the IPL (Indian Premier League). I’m happy to see a country like that doing so well in cricket. If many countries take that route and challenge, it will be a fabulous story in history. Today, there are some household names in the few years they’ve played.”
He continued: “I genuinely hope they have the opportunity to play a lot of Test cricket. As they’ve improved in T20s, today they can not only challenge but have the ability to win a tournament which is great. It’s going to be an honour to play against them.”
Karthik was all smiles until Asghar Stanikzai’s remarks were brought up. Stanikzai, the Afghanistan skipper, announced last week that Afghanistan’s spinners were better than the host tweakers. Karun Nair, who addressed the press on Monday, craftily avoided the topic without saying much. Karthik, however, shot off a warning.
“Look, you have to understand we have a lot of experience. Clearly, all their spinners put together would not have played as many matches as say a Kuldeep Yadav would have played in four-day cricket,” said Karthik.
“At the end of the day, experience has a lot of value. We saw that with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. Experience pays. I’m sure in time they will become better. The kind of improvement they have shown in white-ball cricket has been phenomenal so there is no reason why they cannot do that in Test cricket. But I would definitely say our spinners have a lot of experience and experience is not something that can be easily bought.”