That’s in the past; their immediate aim will be to carry momentum into the final of this continental competition, and ride on that into the World Cup three weeks away
Ishan Kishan has happy memories of his last outing against Bangladesh. In Chattogram last December, he smashed a monumental 210 as opener in the final ODI of a series already surrendered, helping India save face after going down in the first two matches.
Now batting in the middle order, Kishan will aspire to channelise that feel-good in Friday’s Asia Cup Super 4 clash against Shakib Al Hasan’s men in a game whose outcome is of little consequence to the tournament per se. India are already in the final after victories over Pakistan and Sri Lanka, while Bangladesh are out of the reckoning following losses to the same opponents.
It’s unlikely that as a team, India will be too seized by the events in Bangladesh towards the end of last year. That’s in the past; their immediate aim will be to carry momentum into the final of this continental competition, and ride on that into the World Cup three weeks away.
Despite this being a dead rubber, in as much as an international game can be termed so, India will think long and hard about whether wholesale changes is the way to go. There are just five ODIs—and two warm-up matches—before the World Cup. While on the one hand, it is essential to stick with a settled line-up, it is equally important to manage the workloads of the fast bowlers and make sure that one or two on the bench get some game-time to shake off any rust they might have picked up over the last two weeks.
Jasprit Bumrah sent down 12 overs spread across two consecutive nights against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, looking in outstanding rhythm and as potent a threat as he was before surgery to his back earlier in the year. The think-tank will leave it to him to decide whether he needs a little break or if he feels he will be better off bowling more overs in a competitive scenario. Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who too is having a very good Asia Cup, are crucial to India’s World Cup campaign and must be handled with care and due consideration.
A tournament to forget
Bangladesh have had a tournament to forget, defeats (twice) to Sri Lanka and Pakistan comprehensively overshadowing their huge Group B league win against Afghanistan. Their batting has been a letdown and they will be further handicapped on Friday in the absence of Mushfiqur Rahim. The former skipper flew back home after last Saturday’s loss to the hosts to be with his wife following the birth of their second child and has been given extended leave, which can be construed as an opportunity for another batsman to step up and make his mark.
India-Bangladesh matches have witnessed some needle in recent times, but this encounter ought to be all about internalising with focus inwards rather than elsewhere.