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Afghanistan vs West Indies in India, 2019-20

A review of Afghanistan vs West Indies in India, 2019-20

Santosh Suri
Rahkeem Cornwall prepares to bowl  •  AFP

Rahkeem Cornwall prepares to bowl  •  AFP

One-day internationals (3): Afghanistan 0, West Indies 3 Twenty20 internationals (3): Afghanistan 2, West Indies 1 Test match (1): Afghanistan 0, West Indies 1
If Afghanistan's players didn't know it before, this tour proved that, the longer the format, the harder the challenge. They won the T20 series, and the 50-over games were all reasonably close - but they fell in a heap in the solitary Test.
West Indies were helped by the fact that Afghanistan's home base in India had shifted from Dehradun - which had no five-star hotel - to Lucknow, so their spinners were less familiar with the pitches. In the event, they were outperformed by the tourists' slow men, in particular Rahkeem Cornwall, who in his second Test took ten wickets.
Afghanistan's batsmen seemed unable to adapt to the waiting game required in Tests, hamstrung by their lack of experience. "If you don't score big runs against top teams, you will struggle," said Rashid Khan.
Even though he had won his first Test in charge, in Bangladesh two months earlier, it began to look as if saddling him with the captaincy might not have been wise: he was only 21, and also expected to be the main wicket-taker. It was no surprise when Asghar Afghan was reappointed a few weeks later.
If Cornwall was the big red-ball plus for West Indies, they had concerns about the form of regular opener Kraigg Brathwaite. Two failures in the Test meant he had not made a half-century for ten matches, stretching back to October 2018.
There was a change at the helm in the white-ball matches, with Kieron Pollard taking over as captain from Jason Holder. He had a good start, winning all three of the 50-over games, before narrowly losing the T20s.
An interesting addition was leg-spinner Hayden Walsh, born in the Virgin Islands, who not long before had been representing the United States; he took three wickets as West Indies won the second ODI.
Holder remained in the white-ball side; of the other Test players, only Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope appeared in the T20s. Those three didn't get much rest, as the West Indians went straight into two limited-overs series against India.