India skipper Rohit Sharma feels that his team will have to put its best foot forward in every department when it squares off against a very challenging Bangladesh team in the three-match ODI series, starting on Sunday.
The last time these two teams played here in an ODI series, Bangladesh won 2-1 in 2015. India, who lost to New Zealand 1-0, will be boosted by the return of Rohit, K.L Rahul and Virat Kohli for the three-match series.
“It is going to be an exciting series as always has been whenever we have come to Bangladesh. They have been a very challenging team and we have to play well to beat them. It’s a very simple equation for us. Of course, we are playing them in their own backyard, so we expect them to challenge us in every bit, whether itrs batting, bowling and fielding as well.”
“They are going to be a very competitive team in their backyard, so we have to be at our best to win the series. But for us, winning a series is not what we are looking at, we are looking at one game at a time and trying to see how we play well in that one game and then think about second and third games. Thinking too far ahead sometimes doesn’t help,” said Rohit in the pre-match press conference.
In the last few years, the India-Bangladesh rivalry has produced matches that have kept people on the edge of their seats, with the most recent instance being the rain-hit T20 World Cup match, where the visitors’ survived Das’ batting brilliance to win by five runs in Adelaide.
Rohit is aware that the challenge from Bangladesh will be anything but a cakewalk. “I think it’s been an exciting rivalry over the years. But over the last 7-8 years they have been a difficult team and been very challenging and we have not had easy wins against them.”
“We have had to play good cricket to win against them. In the T20 World Cup, it was a close game and in 2015, we lost the series here. By no means, we are thinking that it’s going to be a cakewalk for us because we know they are a much-improved side in the last few years.”
Though Bangladesh are missing regular skipper Tamim Iqbal and pacer Taskin Ahmed, India will be wary of other experienced campaigners in the hosts’ line-up like Litton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, and other members. But Rohit is not keen to concentrate much on what balance Bangladesh will have in their playing eleven.
“Honestly, we don’t look at the opposition composition too much. We have to play well as the Indian cricket team and that is where our focus will be. Of course, they have some quality players. They are going to miss a few of their experienced players. But for them also, it is going to give the opportunity to others to play well.”
“Those two guys have been match-winners for Bangladesh and have done well for so many years for them. But it is important to not too much focus on the opposition and do what we want to do as an Indian cricket team.”
India tends to get huge crowd support wherever they travel, which extracted a ‘not here’ reply from Rohit in jest. With most of the Indian cricketers touring Bangladesh for the first time, Rohit thinks the Bangladesh crowd can create a bit of pressure on the first-timers in the country.
“The crowd here can be intimidating. They’re passionate fans of cricket and they get right behind the team. It is exciting for their team. But for us, yes, a lot of guys are coming to Bangladesh for the first time; but that doesn’t change a thing.”
“You’re used to playing in such big crowds when you tour places like Australia and England. The crowd there can be intimidating as well. They want to get behind the team, it’s the same thing here as well. It’s not going to affect our boys, they’re used to being under pressure and being challenged.”
Rohit Sharma signed off by saying bounce and movement off the pitch will be something India will be careful about.
“It’s not the easiest thing to judge but as far as I am concerned we have played a lot of cricket in the sub-continent and somewhere down the line they tend to behave the same. On days there can be extra bounce and extra grass can give a bit of lateral movement. So these things need to keep in mind.”