Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons today said his "team has a mountain to climb" before it emerges as a strong Test playing nation.Simmons made his comments after Afghanistan suffered a crushing loss against India on their Test debut with the one-off game finishing inside two days. "I believe, the team has the potential to emerge as a good Test-playing country but the task at its hands is like climbing a mountain," he told reporters after Afghanistan lost to India by an innings and 262 runs.
Before the match, Simmons had called batting as the weakest link in the side and his worst fear came true when the visitors were bowled out twice on day two.Afghanistan were all out for 109 in their first innings before struggling to 103 in second after India had scored 474 in their first essay.Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were chief wreckers for India, picking up four wickets each in first and second innings respectively.
Asked if facing a lower-ranked team on their debut made more sense, Simmons said the match may have been competitive in that case but they would not have learnt much as they did facing India, the number one Test side in the ICC rankings.Star spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeed Zadran too struggled on the opening day before bouncing back in the last session. "The first two sessions of day one did not go their way, but as the game progressed, they showed glimpses of what they are capable of, but I don't think they will be happy with their performance," said Simmons.
The West Indian said the huge defeat has made the players realise where they stand in the five-day format."You can play as many four days matches, but facing number one team in the world has showed in a big way how competent Test cricket is," he said.Replying to another query, Simmons said Afghanistan have to play a lot of A-series cricket against India, England, Australia and Bangladesh to close the gap between domestic and international cricket.
"I think there has to be a lot more A-series against India, Australia, England and Bangladesh.That is the best way to close this (domestic and international cricket) gap," he added.