Even as certain cricket teams look to have regressed into decline, there’s been one nation which’s taking a strong stride forward.
In the past handful of years, the Bangladesh cricket team has been a squad to watch out for as they have tried – and been successful, on various occasions – to match up to their more fabled opponents.
While the consistency of the sub-continental side may have been shadowed and obscured, their exploits at the recently concluded cricket World Cup has highlighted their surge thoroughly. Their rise to prominence at – and after – the World Cup, in many ways, was also fitting given their rich history in the previous editions of the tournament.
This series can thus be considered as a watershed moment in the cricketing history of not just Bangladesh, but also for the Indian cricket team, embarking on the bilateral series.
Though the Indian team has visited its neighbouring cricketing nation for a tour, this is the first time that their hosts would be playing – and challenging – them on an equal footing. As such, India shouldn’t – and won’t – be expecting an easy tournament, despite the short nature of the tour.
Both sides have carefully selected their squads, but where the Indian squad looks to be still adjusting to a wide variety of developments, at its managerial side; the Bangladeshi squad looks to be a tad bit more settled.
This will be the first series where Virat Kohli would be fully taking on the mantle of captaincy for India and as such, the hosts would be keen to exploit the transitional pressures that have continued to pile on Kohli. And here’s where the Indians have more reason to be wary about their opponents.
In spite of sledging being perceived by many as an unnecessary evil to the continuance of cricket, the concept has kept the spirit of competitiveness alive in its own way. And while Indian cricket has had the noteworthy precedent of not giving into the mire of sledging, there are – and have been – some Indian players, who have been notorious for their loud-mouthing ways.
And Virat Kohli is one amongst these names, with infamy of such acts dotting his otherwise illustrious career.
When Rubel Hossain taunted Kohli during the second quarter-final of the World Cup, a few months previously, the bowler had harked back to Kohli’s similar action way back in their under-19 playing heydays. Hossain’s gesture may have been childish, but what it did prove was that the team – and the players – weren’t pushovers anymore, but could stand up for themselves and give fitting ripostes.
Speaking of retorts, this series is also the perfect opportunity for the hosts to answer for their World Cup quarter-final loss. The face-off between the cricketing bodies of both teams ended at an impasse following Bangladesh’s continued attempts to question the validity of India’s win over them in the World Cup, with the occurrence of this series cast in a huge shadow of doubt.
However now that the tour is indeed turning into an actuality, for the Bangladeshi squad it’s a huge chance to assert the rebuilding of their confidence after their World Cup defeat. To prove that the team has indeed moved on as it focuses towards accomplishing bigger goals.
The start of which is predicated upon its doing well in this series. A series that could be the harbinger of the end to Bangladesh being termed as a ‘minnow’ and an ‘underdog’, despite having a long and sustained presence in the cricketing fold for decades.