We cannot take Afghanistan lightly: Rahane

Bengaluru, June 13 : India will not take spin-heavy Afghanistan lightly, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane said ahead of their one-off Test here on Thursday.

Afghanistan, taking part in their first-ever five-day affair, have the likes of Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman who have made a name for themselves in T20 cricket.

Rashid is No.1 ranked bowler in the shortest format and 17-year old Mujeeb too has created ripples with his variation in the Indian Premier League.

“We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly. They have a decent team…bowlers (are good).

“As a Test team, we cannot take anyone for granted because cricket is a funny game. We want to go out there and be ruthless. Yes, we respect them as our opponents but it’s important for us to go out there and give more than our 100. We just need to be ruthless,” Rahane told reporters at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

Afghanistan captain Ashgar Stanikzai has recently said that the visiting spinners are superior to India’s trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.

Rahane did not want to read too much into that, saying every team would like to believe they have the best personnel in their ranks.

“Every member will like to believe that their team is good. We all know the stats but we don’t want to focus on the stats. Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep are experienced spinners. On a given day, it’s the mindset that makes a difference,” Rahane said.

Rahane, skippering the side in place of Virat Kohli, has been left out of the limited-overs side which is going to the UK for the England tour. The Test series against England is scheduled to start on August 1 after a limited-overs series featuring three T20 Internationals and an equal number of ODIs beginning July 3.

Asked what he will do for the next one and a half months, Rahane said, “See, I don’t know what’s going to happen after this Test match. I will definitely have a word with the selectors.”

“But I will start my preparation in Mumbai as I always do at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). I always prepare intensely before each and every series but as of now the focus is on this Test match. Each and every Test counts and we need to win this one,” Rahane added.

On practice ahead of the Test, Rahane said it was all about getting back to five-day mode from the IPL.

“We have had a couple of practice sessions in Bengaluru and it was fantastic. Coming back from IPL, it’s important that we train our minds,” he said.

“Getting back to Test mode from T20 is about tuning our minds rather than focusing on skills. We are not going to take Afghanistan lightly.”

/IANS

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