Ajinkya Rahane’s Commendable Gesture For Afghanistan Proves That Sport Is The Real Winner

Afghanistan made cricket history when the war-torn country took on India for their first ever Test match, the five-day format considered the pinnacle of the sport. As far as the game is concerned, Afghanistan’s first outing in the longest format of the game was a forgettable one as they were beaten by an innings and 262 runs with three days to spare by the number one Test side in the world. However, India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane and man of the match Shikhar Dhawan heaped praise on the visitors’performance in their debut Test. In a beautiful gesture, Rahane invited Asghar Stanikzai and his boys to pose with the winners’ trophy together.

“This feels really special. It is always an honour to lead your country and we wanted to be ruthless. Guys like Shikhar and Vijay got those hundreds, Rahul chipped in and Pandya was magnificent at the end. It was important for all of us to stick to our basics, create some good habits, but credit to Afghanistan, they were fantastic,” Rahanne said at the post match presentation.

“From here on it is only upwards and onwards for them. Their seamers bowled really well, especially in the third session yesterday and I am sure they will go a long way against all opponents,” he added.

India won the toss and opted to bat in Bengaluru. Centurions Shikhar Dhawan (107) and Murali Vijay (105) helped the hosts post a competitive first innings total of 474.

Afghanistan were bowled out for a paltry 109 in the first innings and were asked to follow-on. They were once again skittled out in a single session for 103.

Afghanistan achieved full member status of the International Cricket Council last year, becoming only the 12th Test team despite conflict at home which has forced them to train in India since 2015.

After learning cricket in refugee camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan have made giant strides, gaining one-day international status in 2009 and qualifying for their second 50-over World Cup in England and Wales next year.

They have also been part of four Twenty20 World Cups. Last week they secured a T20 series sweep over Bangladesh helped by teen Indian Premier League (IPL) sensation Rashid Khan.