As India and Bangladesh get ready to lock horns in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, batting coach Sanjay Bangar provided an injury update on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saying the bowler was fit to play against England as well. Bhuvneshwar who suffered a hamstring injury in the team’s match against Pakistan on June 16, was ruled out from the team’s next two-three games. Mohammed Shami was brought in as his replacement in the playing XI and the pacer has taken 13 wickets in just three matches. This has made Bhuvneshwar’s path back into the team a bit more difficult. “Bhuvneshwar is fit to play. He was fit to play against England as well,” Bangar told reporters at the pre-match conference.

India suffered their first defeat in the ongoing tournament against England by 31 runs on Sunday. India were set a target of 338 runs and the approach of both MS Dhoni and Kedhar Jadhav is being criticised. The duo did not look for big shots in the death overs and they were looking content with just rotating the strike. Bangar, however, backed the approach of both the players and said if the team had tried for big shots earlier, they may have very well lost the match by a bigger margin which could have hampered their net run-rate. He also backed wicket-keeper batsman Dhoni, saying every batsman can have one off game.

“I do not think so. If you look at how the English bowlers bowled, they used the field dimensions really well. I just felt last one or two overs, the difference between runs required and balls left was a bit too much. If he had tried for few bigger shots earlier, we may have lost the match by a bigger margin. It also helps the net run-rate a bit,” Bangar said. “Except for one odd innings, Dhoni has done the job for the team. In the earlier games, he stitched together good partnerships for us. He got a vital 58 for us and here also he was striking the ball really well. I am surprised that this question is being asked repeatedly,” he added.

Rishabh Pant who was brought in as the replacement for Vijay Shankar played a knock of 32 runs against England. Bangar said having him in the side as eased Men in Blue’s problems as the team can now have left-hand right-hand combination at the crease. “I think the team management has been feeling the absence of a left-hander since Dhawan got injured. It was a ploy to get right-hand left-hand combination together,” Bangar said.

“Rishabh had a decent innings. He got 32 and we are going to persist with Rishabh. He has been on the sidelines for a long time now. He has been with us for two weeks, he stitched good performances in the Test format. We are trying to help him in achieving the right mindset. He can put pressure on the spinners and he can help the team in a great manner,” he added. India who have been playing matches in the tournament in a span of two-three days will be playing against Bangladesh just a day after the team’s match against England. However, Bangar said the team would go out hungry to be on the right side of the result.

“So far the scheduling has been quite spaced out. We have played matches in a span of two/three days. We are not travelling much, so it does not take a toll on us. We will be hungry to come out to play,” Bangar said. Bangar said that the team would learn from their mistakes and try to execute their skills better in the next match against Bangladesh. “We know the wicket and ground dimensions really well. We would try to learn from the match against England. We will assess the things that went wrong and try to execute our skills better against Bangladesh,” Bangar said.

“The team management will be open to various combinations in the next match. We will look at the wicket and the ground dimensions. We will look at Ravindra Jadeja coming in,” he added. India are currently placed at the second position in the tournament standings with 11 points from seven games. If they go on to win their match against Bangladesh, they will progress to the knock-out stage. The Men in Blue next take on Bangladesh on July 2.