Phil Simmons: ‘All spinners will be excellent’

Afghanistan head coach reveals they are prepared for India as they have bowlers of similar ilk. “The mental part comes from the way we train. How long you bat, how long you bowl in the nets.”

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai (right) and coach Phil Simmons address the media before a practice session in Bengaluru on Wednesday.   -  PTI

 

When asked for a reaction to Asghar Stanikzai’s claim that Afghanistan has better spinners than India, Phil Simmons laughed out loud. The former West Indies cricketer — a seasoned coach — was quick enough to back his captain’s claims. “My captain knows what he is talking about,” Simmons said.

“When you look at it, all spinners in this contest will be excellent. Rashid (Khan) is the most difficult spinner to play around. He has not played Test cricket. We have to look and see what happens, but his professionalism will help him adjust and I am sure he will come out well,” the chief coach of the side stated.

But then, with most of the players being inexperienced, how is that the side looks so confident?

Simmons had an answer for that as well. “The mental part comes from the way we train. How long you bat, how long you bowl in the nets. How hard you train. 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 said.

READ: ‘Tension? I’m hearing it for the first time’

While the side looks heavily loaded with spin, the batting is relatively lesser known. So, is that a concern ahead of the first-ever Test?

Simmons admitted that ‘you prepare for what you expect.’ “We expected Jadeja, Ashwin, Kuldeep. We have had our own Kuldeep in young Zahir (Khan). We have bowlers of similar ilk and they have been bowling at the batsmen. My feeling is that I can’t tell you how to prepare for a particular player. When you practice it against a spinner you learn how to play him. So we have put that in front of them and I think they have worked hard enough to be put out there,” Simmons said.

The coach heaped praises on spin sensation Rashid. “Rashid is so professional, he knows how to deal with it. And while he is dealing with it the others as you say have time to world on their own strategies. I can think it's a good thing for the team,” he said.

ALSO READ: Confident Zahir awaits chance to spin a web

Simmons also admitted that with Virat Kohli missing the Test match, there is a bit of disappointment in the camp. “I think there will always be a bit of disappointment in the players not to be on the same field as Virat, but at the same time we look at it as to how we can win the Test match and beat India, we don’t beat Virat,” he said.

“So, we are disappointed he is not playing but little bit happy that we are not going to bowl to him all the time. We are happy to be here and playing India,” the coach signed off.