Mirpur. When the Indian team takes the field against Bangladesh in the second ODI of the three-match series, here on Wednesday, they will be hoping for a better performance from the big players in this do or die match. Chasing down the target, Bangladesh registered a resounding victory in the first match of the series with an unbroken partnership of more than 50 runs for the last wicket. The Indian bowlers failed to dismiss the tail-end batsmen but the top-order batsmen disappointed the team more than them.
The Indian team last played a bilateral series in Bangladesh in 2015 when the team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni lost the three-match series 1-2 with the only win coming in the third match. If spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraj once again keep the Indian batsmen tight between overs 11 and 40, history could repeat itself at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. During this, all the Indian batsmen struggled except Lokesh Rahul. Rahul played an inning of 73 runs in 70 balls.
There are still 10 months left in the ODI World Cup but it is not yet clear what will be the approach of the Indian team. The Indian team has been talking about batting fearlessly for some time now but this plan has been tried in fewer matches only. The pitch at Mirpur was not good for batting, but it was not so bad that only 186 runs were scored on it. The decision of the then selection committee to rest youngsters like Shubman Gill and Sanju Samson for this series has been baffling.
The argument given by former chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma was that these players have been rested after the New Zealand tour. The main problem with the Indian top-order players is that they are playing too many dot balls in the beginning. In the match against Bangladesh, the Indian team played almost 25 overs of dot balls in 42 overs of batting. If you add the remaining eight overs, then the team did not score a single run in about 200 balls. In modern-day cricket, when England is going all-out aggressively in all formats, the Indian team is taking one step forward and four back.
Instead of adopting a flexible approach by giving Rahul the responsibility of wicketkeeping, the team tried to ensure how to fit both Rahul and Dhawan into the playing XI of the World Cup. Samson, one of India’s flamboyant players, was not selected for this series as well and Ishan Kishan, who scored 93 in his last ODI, was on the bench despite being a specialist keeper-batsman. Rajat Patidar and Rahul Tripathi have been selected in the squad but it is still unclear how the team management will utilize these youngsters. If coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma do not take any drastic steps then the team may have to struggle again.
Team India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Lokesh Rahul (vice-captain and wicketkeeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Shahbaz Ahmed, Akshar Patel, Deepak Chahar, Mohammad Siraj, Kuldeep Sen, Shardul Thakur, Umran Malik, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tripathi, Rajat Patidar.
Bangladesh: Liton Das, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Mehdi Hasan Miraj, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmood, Ibadat Hossain Chowdhary, Nasum Ahmed, Mahmood Ullah, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Kazi Nurul Hasan Sohan, Shorful Islam. The match will start at 11:30 am Indian time.