Talking Points: India v Bangladesh

It may be a one-off Test between India and Bangladesh, but there’s a lot at stake for the players from either side. Let’s look at what’s brewing before Bangladesh play their maiden Test in India.

Test debut for Hardik?

Hardik Pandya has come a long way from being a flamboyant all-rounder who was discovered by Mumbai Indians in 2015. After impressing in the shorter formats of the game in blue, it’s probably time for him to don the whites for Team India. The selectors have presented him with an opportunity to captain India A against the visiting Australians in a warm-up game, but before that, will Virat Kohli entrust him with a place in the playing XI tomorrow? As Head Coach of India, Anil Kumble said “we want to keep Hardik in the mix because he is someone who has the ability to become a good all-rounder even in the longer [sic] format”*. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for our boy!

Saha returns

There was enough talk about Parthiv Patel replacing Wriddhiman Saha for the foreseeable future in the Indian Test team. What does Saha do? He goes back to playing domestic cricket and slams a fourth innings double hundred, in a winning cause for Rest of India in the Irani Trophy – all the doubters and critics silenced! Can he translate that form on his return to the bigger stage?

Rahane or Nair or both?

Karun Nair has given his captain, Virat Kohli a good headache. He became the second Indian to score a triple hundred, and in the process put Ajinkya Rahane under the scanner. What will prevail tomorrow – recent form or experience? Or perhaps, the Indian skipper will find a way to squeeze both into the playing XI!

Bangladesh’s middle order

We haven’t forgotten our visitors! We can safely say that Bangladesh’s batting line-up is heavily dependent on the middle order, going by their recent form in Test cricket. While Tamim Iqbal has all the experience at the top, run-making has primarily been taken up by the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. If they need to compete against India, their top order will need to pull up their socks, and there isn’t much time to adapt since they play just the sole Test.

Bangladesh’s bowling inadequacies

The Indian top order is not the only hurdle Bangladesh need to jump over. Their bowling seems light on artillery as well! Barring Shakib, the rest of the bowlers are either new to international cricket or lack the experience in Tests. Bowling against an imperious Indian batting line-up could be a learning curve or ground-breaking for most of them. We’ll find out soon.

While India have been in good form, Bangladesh can’t be written off by any stretch of imagination. Bangladesh know that they have five days to beat the odds and they will give it all they have. Playing against the number 1 ranked Test team in the world should be enough motivation for them to bring their best on to the field. India, on the other hand, have an unbeaten streak to hold on to and complacency will be the last thing on their mind.

Player Battles

Virat Kohli vs Shakib Al Hasan

This is essentially the battle between India’s best and Bangladesh’s best! Shakib, as we all know, is a shrewd bowler, but Virat Kohli has been in scintillating form during the ongoing home season. He loves to dominate bowlers when in full flow and Shakib is not known to be a bowler to take his guard down, under siege.

Ravichandran Ashwin vs Mushfiqur Rahim

Ravichandran Ashwin has been in the form of his life with the ball. What’s more, he has 18 wickets in two Tests at this ground. His bag of tricks will be up against the experienced and calm-headed, Mushfiqur Rahim. The skipper has shouldered a lot of responsibility with the bat in the middle order and the onus is on him to tackle India’s lead spinner.

Umesh Yadav vs Tamim Iqbal

The task of getting Bangladesh off to a solid start rests in Tamim Iqbal’s hands. He has been around for a long time now, and if there’s a chink in his armour, it’s his lack of consistency. The exact same can be written about Umesh Yadav, whose form can oscillate quickly between hot and cold. It will be interesting to watch who wins the ‘battle of the inconsistents’!

Statistics

⦁    Bangladesh will play their first ever Test on Indian soil.
⦁    248* - the highest score by an Indian batsman against Bangladesh belongs to Sachin Tendulkar.
⦁    India will look to stretch their unbeaten streak in tests, which currently stands at 18 games.

*Quotes taken from India Today


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