Indore: After thumping South Africa in the three-Test series, India will aim to maintain their supremacy in ongoing World Test Championship and extend their lead when they take on Bangladesh in the first Test of the two-match series, beginning on Thursday at Holkar Stadium.
India have won each of their first five Tests in the World Test Championship so far and have played according to their No. 1 ranking in red-ball cricket. They sit pretty at the top of the points table with 240 points.
The two Tests against the ninth-ranked Bangladesh team will provide yet another opportunity for the new opening combination of Rohit Sharma and Mayank Agarwal to establish themselves further. The duo aggregated 829 runs between them in three Tests against the Proteas last month.
Skipper Virat Kohli, who is back with the team after taking a brief break from cricket, remains the biggest threat for the visitors. Kohli scored a double ton against Faf du Plessis’ men.
Kohli also has a battery of fast bowlers — including Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami — at his disposal that the skipper believes are the best attackers in the world.
“If you ask me, we are right at the top,” he said at Wednesday’s press conference. “These guys deserve it. As a captain, that was the one thing in my mind that I really wanted to see — our fast bowlers dominating world cricket.
“Batting was never an issue, spin was never an issue. After Zaheer Khan and all these stalwarts went away, we were thinking about how we can get back to the top and have the ability to pick 20 wickets. So, just seeing the way they bowl, it is the belief that stands out.
“I could not be more happy for them. And the best thing is that they are still not done yet. They are getting more and more hungry every time they step out and they love bowling together, I think that is their biggest strength.”
Kohli also lauded Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell’s courage to take a break from cricket because of mental health issues and said international players should be looked after.
Maxwell, one of the world’s best batsman in the shortest format, left Australia’s Twenty20 squad last month during a series against touring Sri Lanka.
Kohli praised Maxwell for putting his health before the game.
“I am absolutely for it,” he said. “I think what Glenn has done is remarkable and has set the right example for cricketers all over the world. I think these things should be respected and not taken in a negative way.”
For Bangladesh, who will be without the services of their experienced duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, the two Test matches will provide an opportunity to Test the young players.
The visitors, who came out with a remarkable performance in the T20 series, would seek inspiration from their new skipper Mominul Haque, who was their standout batsman last year, with 673 runs from 15 innings, including four hundreds.