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No let-up in intensity, vows skipper Rahane

Bengaluru: A day before Afghanistan’s debut in the world of Test cricket, India skipper Ajinkya Rahane said playing Test cricket was always special and it was an honour for his team to be a part of the historic tie.
Said Rahane, standing in for the injured Virat Kohli, “Every Test counts and we don’t want to take anyone lightly.”
There has been a lot of talk about how India will tackle the Afghan spinners, given the way they have troubled and foxed batsmen in the shortest version of the game. “The preparation going into this match is no different,” Rahane said.
“Over the last three days, the focus has been on tuning our minds, especially because we’re coming in after two months of IPL.
“Skill-wise, it won’t make a difference, but our attitude matters, to make a quick switch, in terms of our mindset from T20s to Test cricket. It’s important that we train our minds. Cricket is a funny game and we cannot take anyone for granted. We are focusing on our strengths and positives and not thinking about Afghanistan. It is very important for all of us to go out there and give more than 100%.”
The India captain said that it was important for them to play to their strengths, and confessed that he was not sure what the pitch would offer from Thursday.
Rahane said that he was yet to discuss the XI with coach Ravi Shastri. On Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai’s statement that their spinners were better, Rahane said, “Every member believes that their team is good, be it the bowling or batting department. In Test cricket, throughout the five days, every session matters.
“Ashwin, Jadeja, and Kuldeep are all experienced and quality spinners. They back each other and enjoy bowling with each other in the match and in the nets. On a given day, it’s important what your mindset is and how you handle pressure.”
Afghanistan received Test status last year along with Ireland. Since gaining ODI status in 2009 they have qualified for two 50-over World Cups including the event in England and Wales next year.