KL Rahul-led India face Bangladesh in the first of two Tests from Wednesday hoping to outclass the hosts for some much-needed ICC Test Championship points and preserve their unbeaten record against them.

India are fourth behind Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka, having won six of their 12 matches while Bangladesh are in last place with one win and one draw from their 10 matches. They have also not won a Test at home since February 2020 and have never beaten India anywhere in Tests.

The visitors however have injury woes with captain Rohit Sharma out for at least the first match in Chittagong and fast bowler Mohammed Shami and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja playing no part in the series.

“There is a Test championship (final) qualification so we will also have to be aggressive. We know where we stand and what we need to do to qualify for the final,” said Rahul during the pre-match press conference on Monday.

“Each day, each session, we will assess what is required for the team in that particular moment and give our best.”

Talking about whether they have specific strategies against Bangladesh or at the batting friendly venue at Chattogram, Rahul said, “We won’t go in with any set mindset. Yes, there is a certain history of a venue, you look at the numbers and take some pointers from that. At least for us we will go there and try to be aggressive and brave, try and get a result.

“The game is played over five days so it is important to break it down to smaller targets. In every session, the demands would be different but one thing is sure that you are going to see a lot of aggressive cricket from our side,” the skipper added.

On Bazball

On the eve of England’s 26-run victory over Pakistan in the second Test, Rahul also acknowledged England’s ‘Bazball’ style of cricket and dismissed the idea of it being reckless.

“To watch these two matches between England and Pakistan has really been interesting. I am really enjoying watching Test cricket being played like that, very fearless, taking the game on,” he said.

He added: “But each team has its own way. All teams can learn a thing or two from the teams that are doing well. You can’t always have the same approach. You turn up according to the conditions.”

“As cricketers, I don’t think it is reckless cricket. They have a certain mindset, they have thought about it, they back their players and the players are doing the job for the team, so it doesn’t matter how you have done it. You want to get the result, you want to get the job for the team and the country. Every cricketer has that mindset and whatever suits that player and that team. Cricket is changing, there is no set way of how this game needs to be played,” the Indian opener said.

On leadership

Rohit hurt his thumb in the second ODI and the Indian cricket board said on Sunday that they will take a call on his fitness for the second Test in Dhaka at a later stage. Cheteshwar Pujara has been appointed Rahul’s deputy. Uncapped batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran was named as Rohit’s replacement.

“Rohit is an important player for us. He is an experienced player and captain of our team. When the captain gets injured...he is someone that the team will really miss but we hope he can recover quickly and comeback for the second Test,” Rahul said about Rohit’s absence.

“Regarding vice-captain, at least I don’t know what the criteria is. Whoever is picked, you give yourself a pat on the back and you continue. Even for me when I become the vice-captain, I become happy but it really doesn’t change too many things, everybody in the team knows their roles and responsibilities.”

“Rishabh and Pujara both have been brilliant for us in Test cricket and have done the job so many times. So we really don’t think much. We carry on as a team. The team wins as eleven players and when we go down we go down as whole team,” he added.

On Shubman Gill

Speaking about Shubman Gill, who is expected to open the innings with Rahul in Rohit’s absence, the captain said, “Shubman has been a brilliant player and it is wonderful to see his transformation (in ODIs). In Tests, whenever he has got the opportunity he has done the job for the team. He is very, very exciting and young but has the temperament for the longest format.”

He added “I am sure he will be excited about this opportunity and wanting to do the job for the team. He has obviously played a lot of cricket in India As and other formats and come through the ranks and proved and shown what he can do so we are expecting something similar. All we can do is back the young, exciting players and give them the platform.”

Watch the press conference here.

(Quotes courtesy PTI, with inputs from AFP)