The size of the challenge Bangladesh players must feel when playing against India was driven home for touring Bangladeshi journalists on Sunday night. Hours after India lost to England in Birmingham, journalists covering the World Cup received an email from the ICC informing that because India would have no practice on Monday ahead of today's game against Bangladesh, there would be a pre-recorded interview with India batting coach Sanjay Bangar.
That may not raise eyebrows, but it is quite unusual that media of both camps are not given an opportunity to formally ask questions of team representatives before a match, and it was the first instance in this World Cup. While it is understandable that India did not practise on the one day they had to recuperate between matches, Bangladeshi media were nonetheless denied the opportunity to ask the opposing camp questions ahead of a must-win encounter.
It adds to India's mystique as cricket's sole superpower and it is one that the Bangladesh team feel too. India not only outmatch them in terms of playing ability, but quite rarely for Bangladesh, their supporters will also be in the minority in Birmingham today, as they were during the 2017 Champions Trophy semifinal at the same venue.
Sharing a hotel with the Indian team also has its challenges. With Bangladesh and India both put up at the Hyatt Regency, a Bangladesh team official expressed frustration recently about the hiked up security that accompanies the arrival of the most followed cricket team in the world.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza yesterday called for calm and cool during the match against India, both on the part of the team and the warring social media factions of two of cricket's most passionate nations. That will certainly be a challenge today when faced with multifaceted challenges that India bring, both on and off the field.