The Bangladesh Tour of India is yet to get underway and there have already been an alarming amount of controversies around it.
It started with the player’s strike in Bangladesh that threatened the tour, the shocking ban of Shakib Al Hasan for not reporting fixing approaches from bookies, and uncertainty about the match being played because of the environmental pollution in New Delhi.
This is the first time Bangladesh have been invited for a full-fledged tour to India since earning their Test status.
With Virat Kohli being rested, Rohit Sharma would lead the Indian team that is also devoid of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya.
Sanju Samson and Yuzvendra Chahal have been recalled into the fold, while Shivam Dube is the new entrant.
The absence of Virat Kohli gives an opportunity to KL Rahul, who has been in compelling form in the shortest format of the game in whatever opportunity he had got.
Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant would be expected to fill the rest of the middle-order slots. The batting position of Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer is still a debatable topic with the former being preferred for the number 4 spot.
India made a surprising choice for the T20 series by leaving out Ravindra Jadeja. So, in his absence, Krunal Pandya becomes a sure shot selection as an all-rounder.
Meanwhile, as Hardik Pandya hasn’t recovered from the injury, it is highly likely that Shivam Dube would get to debut as the team’s batting all-rounder.
The other debatable option would be between Washington Sundar and Rahul Chahar. While the latter is a leggie, the presence of Chahal might prompt Rohit to opt for Sundar, who is a brilliant powerplay bowler, and adds batting dimension too.
Coming to the bowlers, Yuzvendra Chahal is set to return in the playing eleven after being left out of the squad against South Africa.
Also, with Navdeep Saini and Jasprit Bumrah recovering from injuries, Deepak Chahar would lead the pace attack with Khaleel Ahmed most likely to hold on to the second Pace option ahead of Shardul Thakur.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh would be without their captain, Shakib Al Hasan. The star all-rounder has been banned by ICC for 2 years for having failed to report fixing approaches. In his absence, Mahmudullah would captain the side.
With a player’s strike for better pay attracting a lot of attention back home, the Bangladeshi players are going to be under intense scrutiny this entire tour.
They also go into this series without Tamim Iqbal, whose partner is due to give birth, and injured bowler Mohammad Saifuddin.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman will be the two players that Mahmudullah can get valuable insight from. Rahim is going to be one of the leading batsmen for the side while Mustafizur has played in the IPL for the last few seasons and knows the conditions very well.
Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mushfiur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, and Mosaddek Hossain are expected to be in the starting eleven for Bangladesh in Delhi. They form an experienced batting order that must start playing more consistently after plenty of time in the international arena.
Taijul Islam, Shaiful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, and the all-rounders will be expected to shoulder the bowling.
Apart from Mustafizur Rahman, the other bowlers are not proven match-winners. Bangladesh must find something special from its batting lineup to be able to beat India. Reliance on its bowling might cost them dearly.
India whitewashed the West Indies in August, but come into this series on the back of a draw with South Africa.
Virat Kohli hit 72 as India chased 150 to win the second match by seven wickets (the first having been rained off), but they lost the final game heavily after struggling to reach 134, going down by nine wickets.
Bangladesh come into this series, having most recently faced Afghanistan and Zimbabwe at home. The Tigers won three of their four matches, but the final of the Tri Series was washed off.
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed.
Bangladesh: Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mohammad Naim, Mushfiqur Rahim(WK), Mahmudullah (C), Atif Hossain, Aminul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Arafat Sunny.
Team Cricwizz reckons that the Delhi pitch will most likely stay low and assist the bowlers initially. It will not be the best of batting-friendly wickets, and both teams might tread cautiously initially.
Having said that, Bangladesh do not have the firepower to alarm India too much, and the presence of more match-winners in the side should be able to take the Men in Blue home.
We predict that India will beat Bangladesh in the first T20I at Delhi.