After the conclusion of the limited-overs leg of the tour, West Indies and Afghanistan are set to face-off at the Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow in the longest format of the game. This is the only Test between these two teams and also will be the first Test match at this venue, but both teams will - by now - have a fair idea of how the pitch will behave, given that they have played six international matches here over the last couple of months.
West Indies completed a clean sweep in the One-Day International series, while Afghanistan, after losing the first T20 International (T20I), went on to win the shortest format series.
There will be something in the pitch for the fast bowlers as we witnessed in the limited-overs matches. West Indies have some lethal quicks up their sleeves, while Afghanistan will depend on their spinners to get the job done and they may come into play on day three or four. The pacers had the edge over spinners in the limited-overs games when it came to bowling strike-rate and average.
However, the scenario could be different in Tests. Fast bowlers could make the best of the morning session, but as the day goes by, we might see the spinners dominating.
West Indies captain Jason Holder has had a phenomenal couple of years in Tests. He has led from the front with the ball and has scored some vital runs down the order, which has often resulted in getting positive results for his team. Since 2018, Holder averages a healthy 44.60 with the bat and has a bowling average of 14.83, which sees him as the best among bowlers who have claimed at least 20 wickets. With the ability to score big and pick up wickets at regular intervals, Holder is an ideal candidate to lead your fantasy team.
Kemar Roach is another bowler who is highly underrated but has always been a thorn in the flesh of the opposition. He has one of the best strike-rates since 2018 and he could very well be the guy who creates ripples in the Afghanistan top-order. Incidentally, his skipper Holder also makes the list which is highly heartening to see from the West Indies point of view.
Like his team, skipper Rashid Khan too is taking baby steps when it comes to playing Test cricket. But just like ODIs and T20Is, he could be a threat even in the longest format. He has picked 16 wickets from his last three innings and is the most likely spinner to trouble the West Indies batsmen. Like his counterpart, he is also an useful batsman down the order and Afghanistan will dearly want him to deliver in this match.
With two fifties and a century in six Test innings, Rahmat Shah’s contribution at the top is going to be crucial. He is one of the best batsmen in the side and with him occupying the No.3 spot, his team will depend on him to set the platform. He got off to starts in a couple of matches in the ODIs but failed to make it big, which is something his side will hope he does not repeat.
Suggested FanFight Fantasy Team
Kraigg Brathwaite, Ihsanullah, Rahmat Shah, Sunil Ambris, Asghar Afghan, Shai Hope (wk), Jason Holder (c), Kemar Roach, Rashid Khan, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul