Lingering memories of a World Cup controversy which erupted nearly three months ago will return to the centre stage when Bangladesh host India for a one-off Test, which starts on Wednesday, and three one-day internationals.
The Test match in Fatullah on the outskirts of Dhaka will be the first meeting between the two teams since their heated World Cup quarter-final in Melbourne in March which India won by 109 runs.
Bangladesh were left fuming at what they saw as unfair umpiring decisions, prompting government minister Mustafa Kamal to resign as president of the International Cricket Council alleging Indian bias.
The players publicly stated that they have moved on from the World Cup, but fans in cricket-mad Bangladesh can be expected to remind the tourists of how their team were “robbed” of a semi-final spot.
“Playing at home is our best chance to beat India and take revenge for what happened at the World Cup,” said Dhaka student, Amir Hossain.
Keen to avoid a backlash from home supporters, authorities have ordered that an Islamic seminary near the stadium be closed for the duration of the Test and provocative banners will be prohibited in the stands.
India’s Test captain Virat Kohli hoped the World Cup controversy would not affect relations between the two teams.
“We had issues in the past but we have moved ahead,” Kohli said in Kolkata on Sunday before the team departed for Dhaka.
“We are going to play and try and win a Test match, that’s our primary focus. There won’t be any grudges or ill feelings about the opposition. It’s pure and simple professionalism.”
Bangladesh batsman, Mominul Haque, also played down suggestions of bad blood between the teams.
“What happened is in the past. It will not affect the Test in any way,” he said.
India will look to continue their dominant record against Bangladesh, having won six and drawn one of the seven Tests played so far.
India have recalled Harbhajan Singh, the world’s most successful spinner currently with 413 wickets, who could team up with fellow off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for the match.
Playing to win
Bangladesh left-hander Haque, who requires just one more 50 to equal South African AB de Villiers’ record of scoring a half-century in 12 consecutive Tests, hoped the home team will put up a tough fight.
“Of course, we will play to win, but we will be happy even if we can achieve a draw,” the 23-year-old said ahead of the Test at the Khan Shaheb Osman Ali stadium.
“But please don’t compare me with AB (de Villiers). He is the king of all formats.”
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim is likely to leave wicket-keeping duties to uncapped Litton Das due to a finger injury.
The Test will be followed by three one-day internationals to be played in Dhaka on June 18, 21 and 24.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das, Nasir Hossain, Shuvagata Hom, Abul Hasan, Jubair Hossain, Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Shahid.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.