2016 was a hectic season for team India as international teams have toured India to play full-fledged series against the hosts. First visitors of the last year were New Zealand followed by them England visited India to play grueling five-Test series, three-match ODI series, and three-match T20 series. India bundled out them and clinched series. Also Read - Ajinkya Rahane's Inspirational Speech After Historic Series Win Over Australia Goes Viral, Says It's a Massive, Massive Moment For us | WATCH VIDEO
Now India are all set to play Bangladesh for the first time at home in these two neighbouring countries bilateral cricket history. As soon as Eion Morgan’s men left India following a 1-2 defeat in One Day International (ODI) series and Twenty 20 series Mushfiqur Rahim’s Bangladesh landed in India to play one-off Test against India scheduled to start on February 9. Also Read - IPL 2021: RCB Captain Virat Kohli is Humble And Easy to Approach: Josh Philippe
Indian middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara all set to emulate his 2016 performance in 2017 and that would start from the Bangladesh series. Pujara had scored 86 and an unbeaten 103 in the Irani Trophy final for Rest of India against Gujarat. He also built a 316 runs partnership with Wriddhiman Saha, who scored his maiden double hundred in first-class cricket. Then he turned up for Saurashtra in West Zone T20 matches. Also Read - Removing Virat Kohli From Captaincy Would Destroy Culture of Indian Team: Brad Hogg
As the domestic duty got over, Pujara flew to Hyderabad where team India assembled on Monday for the one-off Test against Bangladesh before four-match Test series start in Pune on 23rd February. Also read-Alastair Cook steps down as England Test captain
“It is always good to play cricket. Despite a hectic schedule, I always believe us cricketers are young and we always enjoy playing cricket. Sometimes, obviously, you need to have a break and this was the time before we have the five Test matches -one vs Bangladesh and four vs Australia.We had a break, but most of us played some cricket or the other. We are fresh and looking forward to the next five Test matches,“ said Pujara, who has enjoyed a good run against New Zealand and England as he scored a hundred in each of the new Test venues -Indore, Rajkot, and Visakhapatnam.
The 29-year-old Saurashtra player has good reason to look forward to playing in Hyderabad. In his last two outings at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Pujara scored 159 against New Zealand in 2012 and 204 against Australia in 2013. Also read-S Sreesanth terms Aakash Chopra two-faced in ugly Twitter spat over spot-fixing
Pujara said team India will not take Bangladesh lightly as “they have been playing well in the sub-continent.”
“This team did well against England. We cannot take them lightly.But we are No.1 in the world and would like to maintain that.The way we played in 2016, we want to play the same way in 2017. When it comes to strategy, we will have a chat about it later on. If we play good cricket, we can definitely beat them,“ he said.
In 2016 they did extremely well against England at spin friendly conditions in Chittagong and Dhaka. While they came close to victory in Chittagong Test but Ben Stokes’ feisty spell spoiled their dream. However, the excitement of the first Test carried away in Dhaka Test where Bangladesh handed England a 108 runs defeat.
So Pujara said that Indian conditions would suit Bangladesh. “When we tour Bangladesh, we have a similar experience. But I don’t think conditions matter a lot. We probably have the upper hand because of the way we have played in 2016. Our fast bowlers bowled well and our lower-order has contributed,” he said.
Meanwhile, this will be the second time Indian skipper Virat Kohli will play another one-off Test against Bangladesh. In 2015 India played a rain curtailed Test against Bangladesh which was Virat Kohli’s Test captaincy debut.