Rohit Sharma: Improved Bangladesh ‘no cakewalk’ for India

India captain Rohit Sharma says that his side’s month-long tour of Bangladesh will be “no cakewalk” despite several veterans returning to bolster the tourists’ ranks after a lacklustre run abroad.

Rohit Sharma speaks during a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka on Saturday.

Rohit Sharma speaks during a press conference at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka on Saturday. | Photo Credit: AFP

India captain Rohit Sharma says that his side’s month-long tour of Bangladesh will be “no cakewalk” despite several veterans returning to bolster the tourists’ ranks after a lacklustre run abroad.

India captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday said that his side’s month-long tour of Bangladesh will be “no cakewalk” despite several veterans returning to bolster the tourists’ ranks after a lacklustre run abroad.

The three-match ODI series begins in Dhaka on Sunday. India will also play two Tests during its month-long visit. All-format captain Rohit, 35, is returning after being rested for last month’s 50-over series in New Zealand.

“It’s going to be an exciting series,” Rohit told reporters in Dhaka. “They are playing in their own backyard so we expect them to challenge us in batting, bowling, and fielding,” he said. “So we have to be at our best.”

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India has a lifetime 30-5 lead over the host in 50-overs matches but lost its last series tour of Bangladesh 2-1 in 2015. Rohit said Bangladesh has evolved into a “different team” since then and could be expected to put up a strong fight. “They are a very challenging team and we have not had easy wins against them,” he said. “By no means do we come here thinking it’s going to be a cakewalk for us.”

Injuries have taken a toll on the host, with regular skipper Tamim Iqbal and in-form fast bowler Taskin Ahmed both out.

Opening batsman Liton Das will make his debut as ODI captain and said he was looking forward to giving India a tough battle. “India is a good side, they have both fame and form,” he told reporters. “But we are playing good cricket against them these days. The big thing is that they don’t consider us the underdog anymore.”

‘Best you can get’

India’s big guns Virat Kohli and K. L. Rahul are also returning after taking time off from the New Zealand tour. Rohit and Kohli, 34, have recently taken regular breaks to manage their workload.

“It’s impossible in this day and age that you will play with your best 15, it’s not going to happen,” Rohit said. “You will always need to rotate and see the best you can get from your players.”

With India hosting the ODI World Cup next year, every 50-over match will be seen as preparation for the showpiece event, but Rohit said the tournament is not on their minds. “We can’t think so far ahead but we will keep an eye on where we can improve as a team and see how it comes along for us,” he said.

He and coach Rahul Dravid “have a fair idea of what we need to do and we will narrow it down once we get closer to the World Cup,” he said.

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