Stand-in India captain KL Rahul wants his side to play aggressive cricket in Bangladesh to ensure they stay in the race to qualify for next year’s ICC World Test Championship final.
India will without a host of regulars when they take on Bangladesh in a two-Test series that begins on Wednesday, with Rahul filling in as skipper for the injured Rohit Sharma (finger) and fellow veterans Jasprit Bumrah (back), Mohammad Shami (shoulder) and Ravindra Jadeja (knee) also on the sidelines.
Positive results in Bangladesh are crucial for India’s chances of reaching June’s World Test Championship final at The Oval, with the Asian side currently in fourth place on the standings with just six Tests remaining this period, ICC reported.
And Rahul has urged his charges to play positive cricket during the Chattogram Test to ensure they keep in touch with the World Test Championship pacesetters.
“There is a Test Championship (final) qualification so we will also have to be aggressive,” Rahul said.
“We know where we stand and what we need to do to qualify for the final,” he said.
“Each day, each session we will assess what is required for the team in that particular moment and give our best,” Rahul said.
Just what the India XI looks like for that first Test against Bangladesh remains unclear, with uncapped batter Abhimanyu Easwaran and bowling trio Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat all receiving a call-up to a 17-player squad earlier this week.
Easwaran earns a chance in India’s squad on the back of consecutive centuries for India A, but the 27-year-old could miss out on a debut should selectors decide to pair Shubman Gill with Rahul at the top of the order.
If Gill does get the nod it will be just his second Test of 2022, but Rahul is confident the young right-hander can perform well.
“Shubman has been a brilliant player and it is wonderful to see his transformation (in ODIs). In Tests, whenever he has got the opportunity he has done the job for the team. He has temperament for the longest format. In every format, he is exciting,” Rahul said.
“What we can do is back exciting and talented players,” he said.
Following India’s two Tests in Bangladesh, their remaining World Test Championship fixtures for this period come against Australia at home in February and March, where the two rivals will battle it out for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.