India vs Bangaldesh T20Is 2019: Revamped Men in Blue favourites to neutralize challenge from neighbours
Viewers should expect a thrilling contest as India lock horns against neighbours Bangladesh in the first Twenty20 International on 3 November at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.
Formidable powerhouses in contemporary one-day and red-ball cricket, India haven't quite yet cut the mustard in the shortest version of the game in recent times. Despite gambling with numerous alternatives for various specialist positions, the quest to find the optimal team balance still remains unaccomplished.
The recently-concluded T20I series against South Africa was indeed a great learning curve for youngsters coming on to the international scene.
While Rishabh Pant's miserable outings fuelled the debate questioning his capability and temperament, Washington Sundar impressed with cunning variations and remarkable precision. Deepak Chahar swung the ball majestically, emerging as a bright positive. However, rookie Navdeep Saini faced scrutiny for lack of control.
Fresh off an unbeaten maiden double century in the Vijay Hazare trophy, Kerela wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson has been deservedly rewarded for his consistent performances with a call-up to the national side. Chief Selector MSK Prasad has already emphasized on the right-hander's selection as a top-order batsman and hence, it would be interesting to observe whether he features in the playing eleven straightaway.
KL Rahul would also be the centre of attraction, having rediscovered his groove with a few spectacular knocks in the domestic arena. Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer have huge boots to fill with the management deciding to rest talisman Virat Kohli for the T20 clashes.
Having received criticism for the inability to unleash the big strikes when needed, the Indian lower middle-order will be bolstered with pinch-hitter Shivam Dubey's firepower. The flamboyant southpaw boasts of a wide repertoire of strokes and can also prove handy with his effective medium-pace bowling.
Considering the sluggish nature of the pitch, India can take the field with three quality spinners. Krunal Pandya and Sundar are inarguably the favourites, owing to their prowess with the bat. Leggie Rahul Chahar will presumably warm the bench as experienced operator Yuzvendra Chahal returns to the squad.
Noteworthy to mention, Shardul Thakur has also been drafted back into the squad, replacing Saini. In the absence of pace spearheads Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, it is a golden opportunity for nascent quicks Khaleel Ahmed, Chahar, and Thakur to prove their credentials.
Bangladesh are likely to miss the services of veteran Tamim Iqbal, who has withdrawn himself from the tour citing personal reasons and captain Shakib Al Hasan, who has been sensationally banned by the ICC after accepting charges of breach of the anti-corruption code.
Hence, the onus will be on seasoned campaigners like Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, and Mahmudullah to rise to the occasion. Left-handers Afif Hossain and Mohammed Naim are talented prospects as well, renowned for their ferocious stroke-making abilities.
Moreover, it is high time perennial underachiever Soumya Sarkar shoulders the batting responsibility and delivers to his potential.
Question marks predominantly hover over the inexperienced spin department comprising Arafat Sunny, Mosaddek Hossain, and Aminul Islam. It would be a grueling test of character for the tweakers to contain the rampant Indian batsmen sparkling with confidence.
The pace battery looks settled with Al-Amin Hossain, Mustafizur Rehman, and Shafiul Islam in the mix.
India are undoubtedly hot favorites leading into the fixture, but Bangladesh have alwaysbeen fighters and subjugating them would be no cakewalk for the hosts.