India Tour Of Bangladesh 2015
If the scheduling wasn’t bad enough, India are now slated to play Bangladesh in two ODIs (not one, not three, not five) at the onset of Monsoon season in Bangladesh. With the solitary test already being washed out, you’d think many would understand the redundancy of this short tour, but to be fair, Kohli and co. played with the intent of getting any kind of result.
A draw in the end meant that India fell further to 4 in the test rankings (far too high, considering their recent performances). But there were a few points to note, though not exactly indicators of an immediate future. Here were the few bright spots in a dark cloud-covered doomed test:
Virat Kohli, the new test captain of India, is a big fan of the 5-bowler strategy, especially outside India. He wants to win matches, even at the cost of losing them. This is a good mindset to be in, because let’s face it, India can’t lose any more abroad than they already have. This is also driven by the fact that India need 20 wickets to win a test, and Kohli realizes that the extra bowler—though not always helpful—will create enough chances without letting the opposition team relax and get away. Here, his 3 fast bowlers were pretty useless, thanks to the slow, flat pitch. Perhaps a third spinner would have forced things further.
R. ASHWIN TO THE FORE
It was always going to be a spinner’s test, and Bangladesh’s spinners were surprisingly toothless considering R. Ashwin’s terrific display of classic off-spin bowling. This was his first 5-wicket haul outside India, and the way he tortured the army of left-handers was a reminder to anyone who thought that Harbhajan was brought back to take away Ashwin’s lone offie spot. Eventually, Bhajji’s inclusion only woke up Ashwin, who finally produced a performance that had spin, dip, drift and enough turn to trouble every batsman. Bhajji’s 3 wickets were also crucial, but they were aided by some senseless Bangladesh batting on a day where they realized they was virtually no chance of a result. So they went after bowlers, paid the price, followed on, and escaped.
Dhawan, who was dropped after the first two tests in Australia, must consider himself very very lucky to be back in the side for a test match in the sub-continent. With his aggressive and lucky 172, he has once again cemented his test spot for the near future, and poor KL Rahul—who showed guts to achieve glory in only his second test in Australia—might have to sit out for no fault or failure of his own. Also, Dhawan is the only left-hander in the side, which increases his chances against visiting teams this year. Perhaps KL Rahul will look towards Rohit and Pujara to fight for that one spot available. Vijay is going nowhere, and has been India’s best test batsman along with Rahane over the last 2 trying years.
The same team could be retained for India’s next test, which will be against a visiting South African World no. 1 side in October. Rohit will be given another chance as usual, and bowlers like Aaron, Yadav and Ishant will have to really improve by then if they’re to trouble that Proteas batting line-up. However, knowing Kohli, India could well go in with their strength: 3 spinners. Will Harbhajan be back? Probably.