Shakib Al Hasan has been handed a two-year-ban by the ICC for not reporting corrupt approaches, whereas Tamim Iqbal has cited personal reasons for his unavailability in the series.

 

India’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma on Saturday said that Bangladesh team is a formidable T-20 side and will pose threat in the upcoming series starting Sunday despite Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal not featuring in the national team.

Shakib has been handed a two-year-ban by the ICC for not reporting corrupt approaches whereas Tamim has cited personal reasons for not been able to feature in the playing eleven.

“Bangladesh is a good team in this format. Even away from home. They have always put us under pressure. Shakib and Tamim are missing but they have a good team nonetheless. They have mature players along with youngsters. We are not going to overthink. We will just focus on our game,” Rohit said ahead of the first T-20 against Bangladesh that will be played at the Arun Jaitley stadium.

Talking about playing eleven for the team, the 32-year-old skipper conceded that the players will be selected on the basis of conditions.

“We have a lot of young players. Sanju (Sanju Samson) has been playing really well in the IPL domestic cricket for some years. Shivam (Shivam Dube) came last year and has talent. They have great potential and depending on the pitch and conditions, we will plan.

“Three spinners will play if the pitch is slow. Three pacers if there is grass. We will take the final call on Sunday. Doors are open for anybody. We want to give opportunities to players ahead of T20 World Cup,” the captain said.

On Rishabh Pant, who has been down in the dumps for a long time owing to poor shot selections, Rohit feels that the young wicket-keeper needs proper “backing” as the batsman can blast any opposition on his day.

“We have stuck with Pant and this is the format which he embraces most. He started with a bang, and we will stick with him. He can take the game away on his day. He needs proper backing. It’s too soon to judge him.”

India’s middle order conundrum has been a bone of contention for a couple of years now, which was the prime reason the team, lost out on winning their third World Cup title. The team struggles when they lose the top order early in the innings.

Speaking on the issue, Rohit said that the players need to be confident of their place in the side in order to excel.

“We have options. The players need games under their belt so that they feel more confident and get the job done”

“My job is to get the best out of the remaining 10 players. Give the youngsters chance to express themselves,” he said.

On the team’s struggles of batting first and winning the match, Rohit said, “We have looked at stats, numbers regarding chasing and setting targets.  Our numbers are very good when we are chasing, whether we are playing in India or outside.

“But something which we have been wanting to focus on was on posting targets and defending. That’s why, you saw us chosen to bat first on a sticky wicket in the last T20 against South Africa which we lost in Bengaluru. We wanted to challenge ourselves.

“That’s what we want to do. We want to set targets on difficult pitches and defend it. We want to make sure we have all bases covered before the World Cup in Australia. This is the perfect time for us to do all that. But at the same time, we want to win games as well. It’s not about trying and giving. Winning games will always be the priority. We have not performed that well in T20Is…we want to be at the top in all three formats, we have set the standards and there’s no reason why we can’t achieve that,” he said.

Rohit further added that his job is to take the team forward from where Virat Kohli has left.

“I’m not a regular captain. My job is to continue to take the team forward as it was under Virat. Every individual is different. What I have done is trying to maintain what Virat keeps doing. That probably is my job when I get the job of captaining the side,” Rohit said.

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