Hyderabad, India (BBN) – Bangladesh may be battered and bruised. Like a prize fighter, it may buckle, but refuse to give in.
“I think they have the skill. They just don’t play that many Test matches to gain confidence as a squad. It’s very basic,” observed Indian skipper Virat Kohli on the eve of the one-off Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium from Thursday, reports The Hindu.
“If you don’t play Test cricket very often, you will never understand the mindset. That’s where it comes from. They have beaten all the sides in one-day cricket, because they know how to play the format. You can practise as much as you want, but game time is important,” he said.
Respect for the rival was evident.
“Ability is going to be there. It’s the mindset that changes from format to format. I am sure that if they play more Test cricket they will become solid Test players and a solid Test team as well,” Kohli acknowledged.
Bangladesh is no more the minnow it was seen as, even if it sits only above Zimbabwe in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) current rankings!
Since taking its first steps in the game’s longest format in 2000, it has racked up no less than 15 totals upwards of 400.
If sceptics sneer that those were mostly recorded on home pitches, its highest tally of 638 was against Sri Lanka at Galle. More recently it declared at a commanding 595 for eight against New Zealand at Wellington.
What better way for Bangladesh to gain international attention than by standing up to its big brother across the border.
India, perched at the top of the pile, is the monarch of all it surveys.
The ambition that marked its earlier campaigns, was backed by its captain’s confidence this time too, but tempered with realism.
“No team is invincible, no team unbeatable. In cricket, there are always opportunities for both sides, more so in Tests. One session or one hour can switch the direction. We understand that. We have been able to win games because of persistence by the bowlers, application by the batsmen and coming back from tough situations,” said the Indian skipper.
On whether the face-off would be between Bangladesh’s spinners and the host’s batsmen, Kohli said, “It’s an equal battle. You can’t discount Bangladesh’s batting as well. They were outstanding in New Zealand; outstanding effort to score more than 350 runs in one day. It’s phenomenal going at 4.5 runs an over throughout the day. So we can’t take any aspect of their team lightly.”
“This is the opportunity to catch up or match up with the No. 1 team,” said Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim.
On his team’s showing tapering towards the finish, the wicketkeeper-batsman said, “We were not switched on, every ball.
Five days need mental toughness.
“Batsmen in the top seven are responsible for starting well and building on those starts.
In Test cricket, 60-70-80 runs is not enough.
If they can get starts, they should be able to play long innings.
At the same time, no one player can score big if he doesn’t get support. So two-three players will score big, and the other batsmen must score 30-40 to support them.
They are training and working hard, so hopefully it will happen in this Test,” added Mushfiqur of his aspirations for what lay ahead.
Did insecurity cause Bangladesh’s second innings to flounder after flourishing in the first?
Coach Chandika Hathurusingha attributed it more to concentration. “Playing more five-day cricket is the only way to improve.”
THE TEAMS (FROM):
BANGLADESH: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt. & wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Mominul Haque, Taijul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Mosaddek Hossain, Subhashis Roy, Liton Das, Shafiul Islam.
INDIA: Virat Kohli (capt.), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Karun Nair, Hardik Pandya, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Lokesh Rahul, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, M. Vijay, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav.
UMPIRES: Paul Wilson and Marais Erasmus.