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Virat Kohli lauds India’s bench strength, wants Bangladesh to play more Tests

Hyderabad: India captain Virat Kohli believes that Bangladesh, as a team, need to play more Tests to improve in the longer format of the game.

Bangladesh have enjoyed some degree of success in ODI cricket over the last couple of years, defeating top teams like England, Pakistan, India, and South Africa.

Their good performances in the 50-over format have propelled them to the seventh position in the ICC ODI rankings.

While this recent success in ODI has not exactly been converted to the longer format of the game, Bangladesh have shown some promise, as they drew 1-1 against England in a two-match Test series against the Three Lions, last year.

Kohli believes that Bangladesh still need some time to transform their form in ODIs to Test cricket, as the visitors have not played the longer format as often as desired.

“Bangladesh have the skills. It is just that they don’t play that many Tests to gain confidence as a squad,” said Kohli in a press conference, on the eve of India’s one-off Test match against their eastern neighbours, in Hyderabad.

Kohli went on to explain that Bangladesh have done so well in ODIs because they have played that format extensively, and understand what combination works for them.

“They have become a very good one-day side because they play so many one-dayers and they know their combination. If you don’t play Test cricket too often you’ll never understand the mindset,” he said.

“They’ve beaten all the sides in the world in one-day cricket, because they know exactly how to play that format. They’ve played (it) regularly. You can practice as much as you want, but the game is very different.

“Ability is going to be there. It is just the mindset that changes from format to format. I’m sure when they get more Test cricket, they’ll become a solid Test team as well,” he said.

‘Bench strength gives you options when there are injuries’:

India are in the middle of a long home season, where they have been scheduled to play 13 Tests. While they have already played eight of these matches, five are still left (one against Bangladesh and four against Australia).

Kohli emphasised on India’s strong bench, that has helped them get through difficult Test series against New Zealand and England with flying colours, while first team players like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, and Mohammed Shami were injured.

“Bench strength gives you options when people are injured, and that’s where it counts. An injury should not deplete a team,” said Kohli. “We do have a pool of players who are coming up nicely.”

The likes of Jayant Yadav, Parthiv Patel, and Karun Nair have already stepped in at different points during the season, and performed well for India. On the limited-overs circuit, the likes of Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, have caught the eye.

While Kohli praised the Team India selectors for spotting the talented players in the country and forming a large pool of cricketers, he also said that it is up to those players to take full advantage of the opportunities given to them by the selectors, and work hard and put in the performances.

“Credit goes to the selectors, who have identified the players, but to the players as well, to practice their disciplines regularly, to work on their fitness levels, have consistent performances on the domestic circuit,” said the India skipper.

“That’s how you come up into that pool. It’s a back-and-forth thing, where you identify the players that you have, and they have to put in the effort,” he concluded.

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