“Yeah he [Mustafizur Rahman] is a very good bowler. We’ve played against him quite a bit. But red ball… I think any left-arm seamer is a very different kind of bowler that we’re not used to playing a lot,” India skipper Virat Kohli -- calmness and professionalism personified -- said yesterday during a press conference.
One may wonder why Kohli mentioned a bowler who has been out of form and could even be omitted from the Bangladesh team for the first Test beginning in Indore today. Kohli reiterated that purely because Fizz is a left-armer, it is a different prospect that his side needs to focus on.
“Not that we get bundled out against left-arm seam, but we’ve found it more difficult purely because we don’t play them on a regular basis. So, he’s going to be a threat; he’s going to be a key player for Bangladesh.”
However, there was no room for complacency in Kohli’s mind and Bangladesh should be well aware of the threat posed by an extremely professional Test side because of their experience and ability. Kohli insisted that his side never lacks ‘respect’ for the game of cricket.
“We have absolute respect for the game and in that process, the opposition we play against. The intent and respect towards the game of cricket cannot change.”
He put forward the notion that his team’s journey to the top of the rankings and indeed the Test Championship had given them enough cohesion and motivation to fight.
“With a group of young guys trying to take the team on top and then when you achieve it, you realise the importance of that journey and hard work. All of us have been part of taking the team from the stage that we were in 2014-15 to number one in Test cricket. We all have a lot of respect and love for the process and that’s why we love playing Test cricket the way we do.”
Having clinched a maiden Test series win in Australia earlier this year and thrashing South Africa 3-0 at home recently, India are a side that can now play well in any conditions. Will Bangladesh be able to compete? Kohli’s answer brought to mind the professionalism of the India side which does not give an inch.
“They are used to playing in similar conditions, so we definitely think that they will know their game plan and what they need to do. We’ll have to play well to get a result, like we have in the past. We’ll not take anyone lightly from Bangladesh. When they play well, they can be a very skilful team and they have the ability to play some really good cricket. We’ll have respect for them but more than that we’ll have belief in our own team,” Kohli said.