India face Bangladesh in the first of two Tests from Wednesday hoping to bulldoze the hosts for some much-needed World Test Championship (WTC) points and preserve their unbeaten record against them.
The visitors, however, have injury woes with captain Rohit Sharma out for at least the first match in Chittagong and fast bowler Mohammed Shami and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja playing no part in the series.
Bangladesh will also be buoyed after winning the ODI series 2-1 in a further demonstration of India’s white-ball frailties ahead of hosting next year’s 50-over World Cup.
The five-day games form part of the WTC. India are fourth in the standings behind Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka, having won six of their 12 matches.
The current cycle runs from July 2021 to June 2023 and comprises the top nine Test teams, all of whom will play six series each, three at home and three away.
The top two will compete in the final at The Oval in London.
Bangladesh are in last place with one win and one draw from their 10 matches. They have also not won a Test at home since February 2020 and have never beaten India anywhere in Tests.
Rohit hurt his thumb in the second ODI and the BCCI said on Sunday that they will take a call on his fitness for the second Test in Dhaka at a later stage.
KL Rahul will lead the team in the first Test with Cheteshwar Pujara as his deputy. Uncapped batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran was named as Rohit’s replacement.
National selectors named right-arm quick Navdeep Saini and left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar in place of Shami (shoulder injury) and Jadeja (knee).
Left-arm fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat, who played his only Test in 2010, has also been added to the 17-member squad.
“There are a few injury concerns but that gives opportunity to other guys,” Rahul said.
Bangladesh too are struggling with injuries, with opener Tamim Iqbal ruled out of the first Test after failing to recover from a groin injury.
Uncapped batsman Zakir Hasan, who impressed in the recent shadow Test series against India A, has been called up as Tamim’s replacement for the first Test.
“I think the country tends to enjoy white-ball cricket. We have had a lot of success at home in ODI cricket,” said fielding coach Shane McDermott.
But he added that it was a “challenge” to play Tests, although the “overall attitude has generally improved”.
Bangladesh: Mahmudul Hasan, Najmul Hossain, Mominul Haque, Yasir Ali, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Liton Das, Nurul Hasan, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Khaled Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Zakir Hasan, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Anamul Haque.
India: KL Rahul (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, KS Bharat, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat.
© Agence France-Presse