Fatullah (Bangladesh), June 9 (IANS) Skipper Virat Kohli will aim to begin his full-time leadership tenure with a win when India face neighbours Bangladesh in a one-off Test match starting here on Wednesday.
With the sudden retirement of Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the Test arena, focus will be on Kohli’s leadership, who has already grabbed eyeballs for his in-your-face, no holds-barred attitude on the field.
Glimpses of his combustible approach to leadership role was evident during his captaincy in two of the four Tests (first and fourth) India played against Australia Down Under. It was in stark contrast to Dhoni’s calm and composed way of leading the team and evoked unavoidable comparisions between the two distinct methods of captaincy.
Kohli’s eye-for-an-eye mentality saw him run into repeated confrontations with Australian players. Most notably pacer Mitchell Johnson was one of the highlights of the series that also saw the Delhi dasher complementing his verbal volleys with an avalanche of runs.
He cracked four centuries in the series to become India’s highest run-getter, earning praise for his authoritative batting and aggressive stewardship. But accolades for Kohli were not universal as his style was too hot-headed for some experts.
India lost the series 0-2 but Kohli was not the only bright spot in batting with opener Murali Vijay and middle-order Ajinkya Rahane distinguishing themselves with commendable performances.
But one jarring note for the young side was the middle-order batsmen’s failure to negotiate spin bowling. Australian spinner Nathan Lyon emerged as the highest wicket-taker of the series, troubling the Indian batsmen with his guile and variety.
Bangladesh, with veteran all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan and pacer Rubel Hossain, will look to exploit the vulnerability. But they will still have an imposing task at hand against a strong Indian batting line-up, having failed to dismiss Pakistan twice in both Test matches, losing the series 0-1.
The home team will still have their tails up particularly after impressive performances in the World Cup, marking it with their maiden quarter-final performance, before bowing to India.
The loss, attributed to dubious umpiring decisions by Bangladesh, triggered a cold-war between the two boards, eventually leading to International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Bangladeshi president Mustafa Kamal resigning after complaining extensively of the misdemeanour of governing body chairman N.Srinivasan of India.
While Bangladesh have significantly improved in their limited-overs performance, their ability in the longer version of the game is yet to get an approving nod from the cricketing world.
To add to the lopsidedness of the contest, India have won six of the seven Test matches between the two countries so far, with a rain helping Bangladesh to a draw in Chittagong in 2007.
India’s playing combination will be closely under watch as veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has been recalled after a lengthy layoff. His inclusion raises the prospect of a two pacer-two spinner attack combo with Ravichandran Ashwin partnering Harbhajan in the slow bowling department, with the opponents having several left-hand batsmen.
The match also gives Bengal wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha a chance to cement his place in the team, having lived in the shadow of Dhoni throughout his career.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt, wk), Tamim Iqbal, Abul Hasan, Imrul Kayes, Jubair Hossain, Litton Das, Mohammad Shahid, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Shuvagata Hom, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, R. Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.