India will play its first one-day international since exiting the 2015 Cricket World Cup when going up against Bangladesh in Mirpur on Thursday. The neighboring countries drew a rain-decimated one-off test match last week and now begin a three-match ODI series played at Bangladesh’s Shere Bangla National Stadium.
For India, the contest effectively begins their preparations for the 2017 Champions Trophy and further ahead, the 2019 World Cup. It comes three months after their defense of the World Cup was ended by Australia in a disappointing semifinal defeat in Sydney. But the key parts of the team remain the same and a full-strength side, with the exception of the injured Mohammed Shami, has been put together to travel to Bangladesh, despite a series to come against Zimbabwe next month. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will open the batting, while Virat Kohli is there to add quality to the innings at No. 3. They also have a bowler in form, with Ravichandran Ashwin fresh from taking a five-wicket haul in the test match against Bangladesh.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni also remains as captain, although the 33-year-old has now retired from test cricket. And Dhoni stressed that his approach will remain the same, although with the team always looking for ways to evolve.
“It's not about me but as to what the team demands from me and what the situation is when I go into bat. So it will still be the same. It also depends on where I am batting,” he said, reports The Times of India.
“My approach towards ODIs will be quite the same because what's important is for the team to win. We will have to see what kind of roles and responsibilities suit the individuals playing in the XI, and accordingly, we will decide. Being adaptive and constantly looking to improve is something that's important at the international level.”
For Bangladesh the match presents a chance for revenge after India ended their World Cup hopes at the quarterfinal stage in a comprehensive 109-run defeat. And thus far it has been a rivalry dominated by India, with Bangladesh managing only three wins in the 29 ODIs played between the countries.
But there is little doubt that Bangladesh are on the rise, having recorded the country’s most successful World Cup ever. And the series with India presents an opportunity for Bangladesh to further enhance their chances of qualifying for the 2017 Champions Trophy. The world’s top eight ranked teams at the end of September this year will make it to the competition and Bangladesh now occupy eighth spot, having recorded a hugely impressive 3-0 ODI series win over ninth-ranked Pakistan on home soil in April. ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza has backed his team’s ability to cause India plenty of problems.
“We have a few young players who are at their best and can surprise India in ODIs,” he said in his pre-match press conference, according to The Indian Express. “We are the fastest improving ODI side in the world right now. Bangladesh are definitely among the best in the world in ODIs. The series win against Pakistan was a major boost. We have the bowling attack to unsettle any opposition.”
ODI Series Schedule
Match 1: Thursday, June 18, at 5 a.m. EDT
Match 2: Sunday, June 21, at 5 a.m. EDT
Match 3: Wednesday, June 24, at 5 a.m. EDT
TV channel: Star Sports 3 (India)
Live stream info: StarSports.com (India)