New Zealand, England, Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and West Indies all face off in Test cricket this week.
No, India aren't playing any more Tests at home till 2021, but that doesn't mean we have zero Test match action in the country. Afghanistan and West Indies - oh yes, that series isn't done yet - take on each other and some flies at the Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow for a one-off Test match. Though Afghanistan aren't a part of the World Test Championship (WTC) and this match isn't a part of the WTC, there is keen interest on Afghanistan's start to the Test cricket. They have won two of their first three Test matches, including an away win against Bangladesh. West Indies, who lost the T20I series, will know their opponents are no pushovers.
Watch out for:
Rashid Khan - What's Afghanistan cricket without the prodigal son, Rashid Khan. The leg-spinner has a rather meek initiation to Test cricket with India ruining his Test debut. But since then, he has stormed back to be the Rashid Khan we all know him to be. He has 18 wickets in his last two Test matches after just two wickets in his opening Test. Take him lightly at your own risk.
Day-night Test at Adelaide
We know Tim Paine extended a rather warm - or cheeky - welcome to Virat Kohli to play a day-night Test in Australia, but that's not happening until next year. For now, it's Pakistan, who lost inside four days at Brisbane, who will play a day-night Test with the pink ball. The last time these two teams played a day-night Test in Australia, we had a rather close finish on day five despite Australia dominating the entire Test. Just Pakistan things, but this series needs some of that unpredictability to spark more interest.
Watch out for:
Naseem Shah - 16 or 19 or 25, Naseem Shah had a proper debut at Brisbane. While he bowled just 20 overs - and only four on day 3 - in Australia's first innings, bowling coach Waqar Younis put that down to giving the youngster lesser workload. He can swing the ball, clock speeds in the high 140s and test the batsmen with bounce. With a pink ball in hand, he could be that much-needed weapon for Pakistan.
And that weird England-New Zealand game
Now every time New Zealand and England play, people expect miracles. The teams haven't stopped dishing out midnight miracles yet, and at Mount Maunganui, it was BKJ Watling's double ton and Mitchell Santner's hundred that brought New Zealand back from the dead in the first innings. The Black Caps have a rather funny way of imposing themselves on matches once they start to find their groove, one reason for their Test success in recent times. But England are no easy proposition and a seething Jofra Archer can mean only one thing - more perfume balls.
Watch out for:
Stuart Broad - He was nearly absent in the first Test match with Archer, Sam Curran and even Jack Leach hogging headlines. But Broad is Broad and he has his way when things start going his way. Ask David Warner. 33 wicketless overs at Mount Maunganui should play on Broad's mind but expect him to put that behind and produce a much better display with conditions expected to be even more conducive to swing bowling at Hamilton.
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Feature image courtesy: AFP / Michael Bradley