ICC created history by granting Afghanistan and Ireland Test status in June 2017. This made Afghanistan and Ireland 11th and 12th Test playing nations. The last nation to Test status before them was Bangladesh, who played their first Test in 2000, against India.
Ireland will play their inaugural Test match against Pakistan at Dublin, Ireland from May 11.
Afghanistan, on the other hand, will make their Test debut against India at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru from June 14, 2018. The one-off Test contest has been named the Indo-Afghanistan Friendship Series.
Team India might want to put their full focus on the Afghanistan Test match, despite having the England tour on the back of their mind. The Afghanistan Test will see the Indian team play without their biggest star in Virat Kohli, who will be in England, playing county cricket for Surrey, in preparation for the upcoming tour to England.
In his absence, Ajinkya Rahane is expected to captain India, who was instrumental in India’s only win in the three-Test series against South Africa earlier this year. With KL Rahul and M Vijay expected to be in India A team to the tour of England; domestic season’s highest run-getter Mayank Agarwal may very well make his Test debut and open with Shikhar Dhawan in the Test match.
With Cheteshwar Pujara also playing county cricket for Yorkshire, Shreyas Iyer might get his chance to don the India whites and play at the important no.3 spot. Ajinkya Rahane may be moved one spot up to play at no.4, the spot usually occupied by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma may possibly get one more chance to impress the selectors.
Wriddhiman Saha is more than likely to get back into the playing XI and Hardik Pandya might be picked as one of the all-rounders in the team, along with Ravindra Jadeja. Kuldeep Yadav may get another chance to play for India in Tests, with R Ashwin playing county cricket to prepare for the tour of England.
The quick bowling contingent might see the likes of Mohd Shami and Umesh Yadav play a major role in the team. Jasprit Bumrah might also be in the limelight after his successful debut in South Africa series.
This because first choice pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar is highly expected to be on India A’s tour to England, along with young Shardul Thakur. Ishant Sharma is currently county cricket in England.
In order to complete the squad and to give deserving players a chance to be in the Indian team, the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Karun Nair, and Siddharth Kaul may find themselves in contention for selection.
All the players in the possible 15 men squad in the Test squad will definitely look forward to making a big impact in this Test, as history will be created in Bengaluru.
Possible India Test Squad for the one-off Test against Afghanistan:
Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami, Prithvi Shaw, Siddharth Kaul, Karun Nair