Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan had hogged the limelight during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018. He has been in top form in the shortest version of the game. Many expected him to replicate the same in the five-day format but that did not happen.
Why did he fail? Former Australian batsman-turned-commentator Matthew Hayden has explained the reason behind his failure against India in the historic Test at Bengaluru's M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian side hammered Test debutants Afghanistan by a record innings and 262-run margin. The visitors managed only 109 and 103 in reply to India's 474 on Friday, June 15.
The 19-year-old Rashid had a tough entry into Test cricket as India opener and his Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) IPL team-mate Shikhar Dhawan attacked him from the start. Rashid, after a forgettable first session on the opening day, recovered slightly but still ended up with not-so-impressive figures of 2/154 in 34.5 overs.
Aggression costs Rashid: Hayden
Hayden, who did commentary for the Test, explained why Rashid and his team-mates surrendered without a fight. According to the former Australian opener, Rashid's aggression cost him dearly.
"Rashid I think bowled better as the Test match went on. Having said that, he ended up with (figures of) 2/154. Firstly, he bowled with too attacking fields early, on a first day Test wicket. It was not day four or five, it was first day (pitch). You needed conservative fields. He was really aggressive and paid the price for it," Hayden told International Business Times, India in an exclusive chat.
The 46-year-old added, "As the day went on, he started to understand the abilities of bowling his legspinners more than his wrong'uns as well. I think he was a bit anxious like they all were that they have arrived at Test cricket. That overzealous behaviour hasn't led to a good performance."
'Can't judge a book by its front cover'
When asked about Afghanistan's entry into Test cricket and the way forward, Hayden opined, "You can't judge a book by its front cover. The fact that they have arrived here and have had limited preparation and limited time in the longer version of the game, I have seen some optimistic signs."
Hayden said Afghanistan were let down by their batsmen on a pitch that suited batting.
"I think their batting has struggled on a good batting wicket. There is lot to take out and it is good and positive. But having said that it tends to show how good Test match cricket is, the level. This (India) is the number one side. If you want to benchmark yourself, you have to do it against the best side in the world. Unfortunately for Afghanistan, it hasn't worked out. It is the first game and it will be onwards and upwards for them," he said.