Spinners have made Afghanistan a dangerous side, says Shahzad

Mohammad Shahzad revealed to Sportstar why India should be wary of Afghanistan during the one-off Test in Bengaluru next week.

Mohammad Shahzad is hoping Afghanistan will give India a tough time next week.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Hours after Afghanistan completed a clean-sweep of the three-match T20 series against Bangladesh, Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad revealed to Sportstar why the series win was special and why India should be wary of Afghanistan during the one-off Test in Bengaluru next week.

What makes this series win special?

It's all the more special because we have had to deal with a variety of challenges. Since it's the holy month of Ramzan, all of us have been fasting, so physically it was taxing on all of us. Plus, the Test team and the T20 teams were training in batches, so the players and the coaches were overworked. And we know Bangladesh is a not an easy team to beat, so to beat them 3-0 is commendable.

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You seemed to have adapted to the conditions much better than Bangladesh...

The more we play against bigger teams the better we will get. When we came here two-three days before the series, we gauged the pitch, the outfield. We knew that it would be a slow wicket and the outfield is not lightning quick so we had to focus more on running between the wickets, so mentally we prepared ourselves accordingly. I am glad that we could implement it consistently.

What has transformed Afghanistan cricket since the 2015 World Cup?

The key has been emergence of spin bowlers. This group of match-winning spinners has made us a consistent team. Till then, we used to rely on our pace bowling or batting. Now, with spin playing such a crucial role, we are a dangerous side. Especially in T20, we can beat any side in the world. You saw how (Mohammad) Nabi, Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) and Rashid (Khan) bowled. They made the difference in this series.

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How eager are you to face India next week?

All of us are excited. The first time we started thinking of Test status was around five to six years ago. Since then, all of us had been striving to earn the Test status. Now that we have got it and we are just days away from playing our first Test match, it is a surreal feeling. I am sure we will do well.

What does Test cricket mean to you?

All of us know that Test cricket is the ultimate test for a cricketer. It tests you on all counts, be it skills, patience or fitness. We haven't yet played a five-day game but we are experienced when it comes to four-day cricket. We have made the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup thrice, winning twice. We are certainly not going to be also-rans. Insha-allah, we will give India a tough time next week.

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