A story of underdogs causing an upset by defeating heavyweights in sport is something which always captures the fascination of any fan. However, in the upcoming one-off Test match, between India and Bangladesh at Hyderabad, the visitors most certainly can’t be treated as underdogs. If team India does so then it will be at its own peril.
Statistics might cite that Bangladesh’s form away from home is woeful – with their last overseas victory coming against Zimbabwe and that too four years ago. Further, out of the 44 Tests played away from home, the Tigers have managed to secure victories in just three of them. However, a lot has changed in Bangladesh cricket and quite recently they managed to thrash England at home by 108 runs in a two Test series to level the series at 1-1. With conditions similar to home and a potent spin attack, the Bangla tigers will be certainly a force to reckon with for the Virat Kohli-led India.
It is not only the bowling department which looks good – at least on paper – but the batting at the top of the order also looks formidable with the ever dependable Tamim Iqbal leading from the front. The likes of Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah will add further depth to the squad, while captain Mushfiqur Rahim will look to provide some depth down the order.
In addition to this is the all-round skill of Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib, who has the experience of playing in the IPL, brings in his valuable knowledge to the squad. His current form too augurs well for the team. In the recent series at home against England, Shakib was the second-highest wicket-taker with a tally of 12. His ability with the bat scaled further heights as he slammed a double-century against New Zealand in Wellington last month. With the pitch in Hyderabad expected to be conducive to spin and a bit of variable bounce expected to be on the offer, the visitors will most likely be strengthening the spin department.
Partnering Shakib will be young 19-year-old Mehedi Hasan Miraz who had a sensational debut series against England as he scalped 19 wickets. Meanwhile, young Taskin Ahmed will be spearheading the pace attack. It may be recalled here that Taskin has a knack of troubling the Indian batsmen and Mushfiqur will be hoping that he makes some early inroads into the famed Indian batting line up to put the hosts under pressure. But if there is one player whose absence the visitors will rue, it is that of pacer Mustafizur Rahman. In the 2016 edition IPL, Mustafizur proved his class and mettle as he propelled the Sun Risers Hyderabad to their maiden IPL crown. The 21-year-old’s knowledge and experience of Indian pitches will surely be missed.
So if Bangladesh are looking to pull off an upset by beating the number one Test team in the world, then it will be an uphill task. But what they will be hoping for is a repeat of their performance at home and bit of fortune to sway their way and cause a massive upset. Although India remains firm favorites to win the test, the Tigers are not the ones to be taken lightly as they are capable of springing a surprise attack from nowhere.