Former India allrounder Mohinder Amarnath feels Virat Kohli’s absence has left a void in the Indian team, which Bangladesh took advantage of and defeated the home side in the first T20I at Delhi to take a 1-0 lead.

As part of workload management, the BCCI opted to rest Kohli not for the first time and in his absence, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma was given captaincy. In his column for the Times of India, Amarnath pointed out how Kohli’s absence gives the opposition in this case, Bangladesh a mental edge.

“For India, every time Virat Kohli takes a break, the gap left by him only gets larger. The way he has taken his game to the next level is inspiring, and perhaps India missed his ability to adapt and plan in Sunday’s game,” Amarnath, who played 69 Tests and 85 ODIs for India, said.

“Even the opposition seems to feed off the fact that they won’t have to contend with him. Once the Bangladesh bowlers were able to restrict India to less than 150, they fancied their chances.”

The win was Bangladesh’s first ever against India in the format. But that said, Amarnath is confident of India bouncing back in the second T20I in Rajkot on Thursday and expects Rohit to fire after the opener was dismissed cheaply in Delhi.

“For the Indians, it was a disappointing start, but I am sure they will come out strongly in Rajkot. I hope they will resist the temptation of experimenting too much and focus on playing with the same combination. I expect Rohit Sharma to do well in Rajkot, and the rest of the batsmen to find some rhythm too. The Indians would be proud of their record against Bangladesh and would want to set the record straight,” the former allrounder added.

Prior to the start of the match, Rohit had mentioned how a quality team like Bangladesh can “beat” and no longer “surprise opponents”. And for them to do so in the first match of the series in the absence of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan, has impressed Amarnath. With their players going on strike not too long ago over difference with the board, which put in jeopardy Bangladesh’s tour of India, a winning start is a great morale-booster for the visiting side, who would be looking to seal the series Thursday.

“The defeat at the hands of Bangladesh on a murky Sunday evening in Delhi should come as no surprise. T20s are a game of chance and the margin of error ensures that a reversal is possible. That said, Bangladesh is a fine team and it is not a surprise that they compete on equal terms with the best now. I was particularly impressed with the way the visitors have coped with all that has happened with the team in the last few days,” Amarnath added.

“First, there was talk about the team not coming, then Tamim Iqbal withdrew from the tour and finally the ban on their talismanic allrounder Shakib al Hasan it was a lot to deal with. However, the team came out and played well to restrict India and then showed great calm to take their side over the line.”