‘We’ll stick to the same thing’

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The Indian cricket team reached Hyderabad yesterday for the one-off Test against Bangladesh to be played from February 9 and batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said that while the visiting team cannot be taken lightly the home team would like to maintain its number one ranking in the world.

Having taken a short break after their emphatic win against England in all three formats of the game, the 15-member Indian squad led by Virat Kohli and under coach Anil Kumble assembled in Hyderabad yesterday afternoon and had a three-hour training session at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, the venue for the Test.

Taking a brief break from net practice, Pujara told media that Bangladesh and India have been playing well in the sub-continent. “So, probably, that is one team [Bangladesh] that have done well against England. We cannot take them lightly.

“But at the same time, we played very good cricket in 2016. So we will stick to the same thing. We are the number one team in the world at the moment. We would like to maintain that. The way we played in 2016, we would like to repeat the same in 2017,” he said.

Pujara declined to reveal India’s strategy against Bangladesh in the Test. “We will have a chat about it later on. But I think if we play good cricket, we can definitely beat them.”

“Given the soil, neither team has an advantage or disadvantage; I think it will be a fair contest. Because when we tour Bangladesh, we get similar conditions. I don’t think conditions will matter a lot for them. Whoever plays good cricket, I think they will have an opportunity to win this game.”

However, Pujara believes India will have an upper hand in the Test. “Probably, we will have the upper hand because the way we played last year in 2016 — fast bowlers bowled well, lower order continues to hit and batsmen have been batting well. I believe that if we play as a team and we play to our potential, we will have the upper hand in this game,” he said.

On young Bangladeshi spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz who did so well against England at home, Pujara said: “I have seen him bowl a little bit against England. Looks like a good bowler. But, when I play, I will be able to know more about him. He bowled well against England and that was a different wicket altogether. There was a lot of turn… that particular wicket. Both the Test matches, he bowled well.’

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