India vs Bangladesh 2019: Why the T20I series is hugely important for India
India's home season continues after their convincing performance against the Proteas where they crushed the visitors 3-0 in the Test series, two of the wins being innings defeats. The growth and dominance of this Indian team is clearly visible as they registered their 11th consecutive series win at home - a record.
The focus now shifts to the T20s with Bangladesh coming to Indian shores for a three match T20I series and a two-match Test series. But the tour has got its fair share of problems and controversies already.
Shakib Al Hasan, the No. 1 ranked all-rounder in the world, was banned from all forms of cricket as he failed to report being approached by bookies during the last IPL. Bangladesh's biggest asset and T20I captain will be sorely missed on this challenging tour.
But a significantly weakened opposition is no reason for India to let their guard down. All teams would be looking at bilateral T20I series as preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup starting in about a year's time from now, and India are no different.
They would want to get the perfect combination and sort out all their issues as they look to attain success in a tournament that they haven't won since the inaugural edition in 2007.
Virat Kohli has been rested for the three T20Is against Bangladesh. In his stead, Rohit Sharma will lead a young and energetic side that has some real promise and talent but lacks experience, especially on the bowling front.
That said, it would have been heartening for the fans to see domestic performers getting noticed; both Sanju Samson and Shivam Dube have been included in the squad.
Keeping in mind their recent T20I series against South Africa where the scoreline read 1-1, India would want to get on a winning roll ahead of the big tournament next year. There are many reasons why this series is crucial for India, which can be listed as follows:
1. They would want to see whether Rishabh Pant can cement his place in the T20 side by improving his performances with the wicket-keeping gloves and the bat? Time may well be running out if he continues to have brain-fade moments with the bat.
2. The onus would be on the experienced batsmen in the side namely Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul to step up and take responsibility. It remains to be seen whether they can help boost an inexperienced middle-order and facilitate their success.
3. The management would have to figure out how the newcomers Samson and Dube can slot into the playing XI. Looking at Dube's recent performances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, he may well get a look-in as a batting all-rounder.
4. The biggest question is how the bowlers will fare. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar being the most experienced of the lot, it would be up to him to guide Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini in the pace department. The spin bowling attack, however, looks solid.
Every game played will be important for India as they look to sort out the problems they face in getting the perfect team combination ahead of the mega T20 competition. With Kohli rested, Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey will have a golden opportunity to cement their place in the middle order.
Moreover, with the likes of Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar injured or not in the scheme of things, Dube has the chance to book his place for the T20 World Cup as the fast bowling all-rounder. He could perfectly complement the likes of Bhuvi, Jasprit Bumrah and Chahar/ Saini with the ball.
There are a lot of things to look forward to in this three-match T20I series. There are plenty of opportunities on offer, but can the players make the best use of them?
Rohit Sharma has had a good run as T20 captain; he is the most successful captain in the history of the IPL. It will be interesting to see whether he can continue his golden run in 2019 with another series winning contribution.