Kohli-less India takes on Shakib-less Bangladesh

Chennai: Kohli-less India faces an already depleted Bangladesh side with the absence of seasoned players Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal in Delhi for the first of the three-match T20I series tomorrow amidst concerns about poor air quality.

Bangladesh, which has often given a tough fight against the men-in-blue in recent times, is set to play this series after a series of events that happened off-the-field. First, with the players led by Shakib Al Hasan going on a strike demanding their cricket board to come to terms with their resolution for better pay and play facilities and once it was sorted out, there came a massive shocker with the ban imposed on Shakib after he failed to report approaches made by bookies.

With Tamim too missing the series, the team led by Mahmudullah looks to put their focus back on the cricket field. The team has opted to give opportunities to some new faces like Mohammed Naim, Afif Hossain and Abu Hider.

For India, the focus will yet again be on Rishabh Pant. After a disappointing outing in the T20 series against the Proteas, he didn’t feature in the Tests that followed and also with Sanju Samson pushing for the wicketkeeper’s slot in this series, this will be an important series for Pant to showcase his prowess with both the gloves and the bat.

This series will also give an opportunity for KL Rahul to seal a spot in the T20 side after being left out of the Test team. Also, Hardik Pandya and Jadeja’s absence makes way for Shivam Dube to don the India jersey. With Hardik Pandya rehabilitating after back surgery and certain to miss more than three months it gives the team management to test another fast-bowling all-rounder and it remains to be seen how Shivam Dube grabs his chances.

Chahal’s return too bolsters the spin bowling department and the Haryana lad, after missing out from the T20 team recently will be hoping to perform well and seal a spot.

Ready to play despite pollution concerns

Sourav Ganguly had a discussion with stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma on how the team is coping up with the pollution situation in Delhi and the Indian captain has confirmed that the team was fine and had a full outdoor training session without any issue, a BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has advised the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) to ‘wash trees inside the Feroz Shah Kotla premises’ and ‘track polluting items within its 2 km radius’ ahead of the game.

This was after BCCI and DDCA officials had a meeting with the officials of CPCB, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PWD and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to review the situation and it was decided that match will go on as per schedule.

Aaditya Anand M