A Big Day for Bangladesh
Playing their first-ever Test in India, the Tigers hope to challenge the No. 1 ranked side
Seventeen years have passed since Bangladesh played their inaugural Test in Dhaka against India. And it has taken them just under two decades to fly across the border and play a Test here. This match comes at a time when the future direction of the longer format is under some consideration, and as such, it becomes more than just a landmark for the visitors.
Bangladesh have played 97 Tests in all, but there is lack of a coherent home season. Off late, teams have been visiting them in preparation for a tougher trip to India (South Africa and England), and they have only been too happy to feed off this situation. It is in overseas cricket though that they have wanted to make a leap, and much to their dismay, this progression hasn’t really come forth.
This is the first time they have visited India. They played in Australia in 2003, and haven’t gone back since. Their two English tours were in 2005 and 2010, five years apart, and are still waiting for a third invitation seven years since their last trip. They have been to New Zealand four times (2001, 2008, 2010 and 2017), albeit they would like the gap to come down.
“It is only by playing different nations, in different conditions, that we can hope to Drawn 2 0 2 progress. We have p l a y e d a t h o me against England r e c ent ly, a nd t hen v i s i t e d New Zealand. Now we are playing in India. It will help us judge our prog ress better. We will be able to ascertain where we have made gains since last year, and if not, why haven’t we done so? ” said Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha, on the eve of the Test. His words lend credence to t he ICC’s new Test league proposal, where the top nine-ranked nations will play each other once, home or away, over a period of two years. Dhaka Dhaka Chittagong MAA Chittagong DS Mirpur Chittagong DS Mirpur Fatullah Progression and inclusion are the watchwords for the Bangladesh at the moment in this vision for the future.
CAN THEY CHALLENGE INDIA?
“We want to win. But they are the no.1 ranked side. But we will make our efforts and let it be known that we will give it our all starting from day one,” said captain Mushfiqur Rahim.
There is punchiness in his words, resembling the on-field battle cry from the Tigers whenever they have faced India off late. They don’t want to be seen as the friendly neighbourly minnow, instead they want to punch above their weight and be counted. Most of this has come forth in their play in the limited-overs arena.
Five-day cricket is a completely different matter though. Experience plays a huge part in Test cricket, and Bangladesh are miles behind India in that respect. Again, the vital factor herein is the difference in how much cricket the two teams play. Since November 10, 2000, when Bangladesh made their Test debut, India have played 174 matches in comparison to their tally of 97. The chances of an
Result by 9 wickets
Date Days 10-13 Nov, ’00 upset in Hyderabad are more unlikely than relegation-threatened champions Leicester City FC winning the Premier League title again this year.
VIRAT KOHLI ON AJINKYA RAHANE
Rahim was clear in his pre-match conference that this wasn’t a landmark Test. It bodes well, for they can concentrate on giving India a run for their money, if not challenge the top-ranked Test side for victory. The hosts will only be too happy for they have just come off a short limited-overs’ schedule. Australia are up next, and what better than actual Test cricket to get back in the groove. The match attains the status of a glorified warm-up game as such.
India are unbeaten in their last 18 Tests. They have won 7 out of 8 home Tests this season, most of them convincingly. Even so, they aren’t without worries. Apart from Lokesh Rahul’s 199 in Chennai, the openers haven’t really kicked on.
Virat Kohli will be hoping that Vijay and Rahul can improve on that ahead of the next series. Ajinkya Rahane returns from injury, and will walk into the playing eleven as per the skipper. Right so, for the Mumbai batsman has been India’s go-to man, their hero across all-conditions over the past 2-3 seasons. One poor series against England isn’t enough to undo that work even if it means Karun Nair is dropped after scoring a triple-ton in Rahane’s absence.
The Indian skipper will have a decision to make, though. Nair will only miss out if Kohli opts for five bowlers. So, the real question is, if R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja need an extra spinner backing them up on home soil against Bangladesh.
CHANDIKA HATHURUSINGHA BANGLADESH COACH
THE CAPTAINS: Virat Kohli (L) and Mushfiqur Rahim Venue