HYDERABAD: There was a time when Bangladesh and the word ‘immature’ went hand in hand whenever the team was mentioned in cricketing discussions. While the side has shed the image as far as ODIs are concerned, they are yet to pass that threshold in Test cricket.
In 97 encounters, they have managed to come out on top on just eight occasions. Of those, only the recent one against England at home can be considered against a proper Test side, because the others came against Zimbabwe and a second-string West Indies in 2009.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim has been a part of the metamorphosing Tigers for almost a decade. He was a member of the brigade including Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza that steered the team to home ODI series victories against India, Pakistan and South Africa in 2015.
A one-off Test against the No 1 team that has gone 18 matches undefeated could look like an insurmountable challenge, but the 29-year-old seemed confident on the eve of the historic occasion.
“Cricket is a team game. When you are playing the top team you cannot depend on individual performances from a Mehedi or a Shakib. We have to plan and hope bowlers execute them,” said Rahim.
Asked about the battle of spinners of the two sides, the Bangladesh skipper sounded excited. “In these conditions Mehedi (Hasan), Shakib and Taijul (Islam) could be very handy.” The wicketkeeper also made clear Kohli’s wicket is what his bowlers would target. “Even he can get out first ball. If we get him, it might help in restricting India to a lesser total.”
This is Bangladesh’s first Test in India, which ends a long wait considering that they played their first Test in 2000. In general, the team is short on experience of playing this format abroad. “This is the ideal time to play this Test as the boys have been playing well and shown that they can perform against the best of teams like England,” head coach Chandrika Hathurusingha said.
Bangladesh achieved a rarity when the lost a Test after scoring almost 600 in the first innings in New Zealand on their recent tour. “We have performed well in limited-over formats in the last two years but not been able to replicate the same in Tests. We need consistency. We have to take each delivery and session at a time. If we can achieve these short-term goals, the results would come our way. Hopefully, we can grab those individual performances and chances,” added the skipper.
Though just one Test, this would be a learning curve for a bunch of players who want to believe they can.