Afghanistan Captain Plays Down Kohli’s Absence From Historic Test

Some sheen has been taken off Afghanistan's five-day debut as India's regular captain Virat Kohli is skipping the occasion to play county cricket for Surrey. Critics have questioned Kohli's move, but Afghanistan Captain Asghar Stanikzai insists Afghanistan are not focused on any one player.

"All Indian players are good and everyone is (a similar standard to) Virat Kohli. I believe we are playing with Team India and not with Virat Kohli," said Stanikzai.

Even without Kohli, Afghanistan seems unlikely to trouble the world's number one Test side but Stanikzai says the conditions will suit his team.

"Indian conditions are good for spin and we are lucky to have good spinners," said Stanikzai.

The match from June 14 against India in Bangalore will cap one of the great sporting fairy tales after players from the war-torn nation rose from refugee camps to join cricket's elite. Since gaining ODI status in 2009 the Afghans have made giant strides, reaching the 50-over World Cup for the first time in 2015.

Vipin Darwade

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