Can’t breathe easy
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 2
Cricket has not been the focus before the first match of Bangladesh’s tour of India, a T20I, to be played here tomorrow night. The focus has been on the very high levels of pollution in the city. The pollution issue even pushed to the backburner the more critical matter of the two-year ban handed to Bangladesh’s inspirational captain Shakib Al Hasan for not reporting three corrupt approaches made to him by a bookie.
The visitors have been practising with masks on as protection from the smog in the city, though they have refused to complain about pollution. Coach Russell Domingo played down the issue, stating that there’s pollution in Bangladesh too, and that since it’s a T20I, the players would need to be out in the field for roughly three hours only.
Despite Shakib’s absence and the pollution controversy, the T20I series provides an excellent opportunity to the visitors to record a series win in India.Bangladesh have played only five matches in India so far — one Test, three ODIs and one T20I — and have lost each of them. In fact, Bangladesh have lost all eight T20Is the two teams have played so far.
Bangladesh are missing Shakib and the experienced Tamim Iqbal; yet, the absence of India’s all-format captain Virat Kohli and the regular bowling attack would give Bangladesh a good chance to register their first win in India. It’s T20 cricket, and upsets are most likely in this format.
Allrounder Mahmudullah, the experienced Mushfiqur Rahim, the explosive Soumya Sarkar and left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rahman need to step up and fill the void. Rahman would be key — he troubled India in 2015, when India lost an ODI series to Bangladesh for the first time. His bowling seems to have lost penetration in the following years, and he must rise to the occasion.
Two young Mumbai men, allrounder Shivam Dube and pacer Shardul Thakur, and Rajasthan swing specialist Deepak Chahar have an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent on the international stage. Two spin-bowling allrounders — Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar — are in the squad, too.
4Wickets Yuzvendra Chahal needs to reach 50-wickets mark in T20I cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin (52) and Jasprit Bumrah (51) are the only other Indians to have achieved the feat
8T20Is India have played and won against Bangladesh. This is the second time India are playing Bangladesh at home, the first being the 2016 World T20 encounter in Bengaluru
8.66 India's run-rate since the 2016 T20 World Cup. Only Oz and NZ have scored faster than India in this period
5 India are No. 5 on the T20I rankings, thanks to Australia’s 3-0 win over Sri Lanka and India's drawn series against South Africa