India vs Afghanistan: Visitors coach Phil Simmons feels spotlight on Rashid Khan helps other players to prepare peacefully

On the team front, Simmons dropped a hint that beefy keeper-batsman Mohammed Shahzad may purely play as a batsman as they have a designated four-day keeper in Afsar Zazai.

Press Trust of India, June 13, 2018

Bengaluru: There is a distinct advantage of having Rashid Khan in the team as Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons feels all the spotlight which the star spinner has garnered has allowed his lesser-known colleagues to prepare peacefully for the historic one-off Test against India.

Asked if all this attention on Rashid has been of help, Simmons agreed.

"I think it has. But the good thing about Rashid is that he is so professional that he knows how to deal with it. That has allowed others to have time to work on their strategies. I think it's a good thing for the team," Simmons said on the eve of Afghanistan's debut Test match.

Phil Simmons and Asghar Stanikzai at the pre-match press conference. PTI

Phil Simmons and Asghar Stanikzai at the pre-match press conference. PTI

On the team front, Simmons dropped a hint that beefy keeper-batsman Mohammed Shahzad may purely play as a batsman as they have a designated four-day keeper in Afsar Zazai.

Asked if Shahzad with his level of fitness can keep wickets for 120 overs (considering India's batting depth) and then open the batting, Simmons said, "He has been fit enough to keep for 50 overs (in ODIs) and then open the batting as well. He did well. Fortunately for us, we have Afsar, who has been our four-day keeper."

"Shahzad has been outstanding on the field. He might not move around well (because of his frame) but he has good hands so he might be there in the slips."

Simmons made light of skipper Asghar Stanikzai's our spinners are better" statement.

"My captain only knows what he is talking about," Simmons said with Stanikzai by his side.

But on a serious note, he said he is confident that Rashid will leave his imprint on the Test arena also.

"Right now, Rashid is the most difficult bowler to play against. He hasn't played Test cricket, so we need to look and see what happens but I am sure he will come out as the best spinner in the Test match," the former West Indies opener said.

Simmons has had the experience of coaching minnows like Zimbabwe and Ireland but he does find Afghanistan as the most enriching experience purely in terms of talent in store.

"The best part about Afghanistan is the abundance of talent that comes through (the ranks). Ireland hasn't produced a lot of talented youngsters compared to Afghanistan. Maybe not in batting but in the bowling department, you will see a fast bowler (Yamin Ahmedzai) and understand the kind of talent Afghanistan possess," he said.

Updated Date: Jun 13, 2018





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3634 125
2 South Africa 3712 106
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3772 97
6 Sri Lanka 3668 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6470 127
2 India 5819 121
3 New Zealand 4602 112
4 South Africa 4275 110
5 Pakistan 3844 104
6 Australia 3699 100
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3972 132
2 India 4601 124
3 Australia 2570 122
4 England 2448 117
5 New Zealand 2542 116
6 South Africa 2093 110