A Big Day for Bangladesh

Play­ing their first-ever Test in In­dia, the Tigers hope to chal­lenge the No. 1 ranked side

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Chetan Narula WARM-UP FOR VI­RAT & CO

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.

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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

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