Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday insisted that his side should give an extra focus on pacer Mustafizur Rahman terming the left-arm pacer a potential ‘threat’ for their batsmen in the two-match Test series starting today in Indore.
Mustafiz has been struggling with his form for quite a long time and he remained wicketless in the recent three-match Twenty20 international series against India, finishing with an economy rate of 9.52.
‘He’s [Mustafiz] a very good bowler. We’ve played against him quite a bit. But red ball…I think any left-arm seamer is a very different kind of bowler that we’re used to playing a lot,’ Kohli told reporters during a press-conference in Indore.
‘So yeah, it just requires extra focus because you don’t play left-arm seamers that regularly when you don’t have them in your team. So it’s a challenge, but we must look forward to those challenges.
‘Not that we get bundled out against left-arm seam, but we’ve found it more difficult purely because we don’t play them on a regular basis. So he’s gonna be a threat, he’s gonna be a key player for Bangladesh.
‘He’s an experienced bowler and he’s been around for a while, and he knows the Indian batsmen as well, having played the IPL and so on.
‘But we’ve played against him a lot as well. So I think it will be about keeping focus and concentration against a good bowler and try to come out on top,’ he added.
Mustafiz, who achieved phenomenal successes during his initial career, mostly in limited-over format, failed to replicate the form in the longer-version, which limited to his Test career to only 13 Tests despite making debut in 2015.
He was in and out of Bangladesh’s playing XI, despite touring with the Test team in most of the series and played just three of Bangladesh’s last seven Tests, taking only two wickets.
It is yet to be confirmed if he would feature in the first Test at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.
India will start the game as top-ranked side but Kohli, who skipped the preceding Twenty20 series believed being at the top in rankings didn’t guarantee them a series win over Bangladesh.
‘No guarantee we’ll win. We’ll have to play well for it. [We] won’t win if we just turn up. It won’t be easy,’ he said.
‘We’ve always played good cricket in Indore, but wherever you play you need to work hard and respect the game. Believe in yourself. We have good memories in this team,’ Kohli added.
India won their last 11 Test series at home, a world record itself and never lost a game in Indore.
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