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Improved Bangladesh 'no cakewalk', says India's Rohit

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DHAKA: India skipper Rohit Sharma said on Saturday his side's month-long tour of Bangladesh will be "no cakewalk", with several veterans returning to bolster the tourists' ranks after a lacklustre run abroad.

The three-match ODI series begins in Dhaka on Sunday, with India also playing two Tests during their month-long visit.

All-format captain Rohit, 35, is returning after being rested for last month's 50-over series in New Zealand, which they lost 1-0.

"It's going to be an exciting series," Rohit told reporters in Dhaka.

"They are playing in their own backyard so we expect them to challenge us in every bit -- batting, bowling and fielding," he said. "So we have to be at our best."

India have a lifetime 30-5 lead over the hosts in 50-overs matches but lost their last series tour of Bangladesh 2-1 in 2015.

Rohit said Bangladesh have evolved into a "different team" since then and could be expected to put up a strong fight.

"They are a very challenging team and we have not had easy wins against them," he said. "By no means do we come here thinking it's going to be a cakewalk for us."

Injuries have taken a toll on the hosts, with regular skipper Tamim Iqbal and in-form fast bowler Taskin Ahmed both out.

Opening batsman Liton Das will make his debut as ODI captain and said he was looking forward to giving India a tough battle.

"India is a good side, they have both fame and form," he told reporters.

"But we are playing good cricket against them these days. The big thing is that they don't consider us the underdog anymore."


India's big guns Virat Kohli and KL Rahul are also returning after taking time off from the New Zealand tour.

Rohit and Kohli, 34, have recently taken regular breaks to manage their workload.

"It's impossible in this day and age that you will play with your best 15, it's not going to happen," Rohit said. "You will always need to rotate and see the best you can get from your players."

With India hosting the ODI World Cup next year, every 50-over match will be seen as preparation for the showpiece event but Rohit said the tournament is not on their minds.

"We can't think so far ahead but we will keep an eye on where we can improve as a team and see how it comes along for us," he said.

He and coach Rahul Dravid "have a fair idea of what we need to do and we will narrow it down once we get closer to the World Cup," he said. -- AFP

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