India to take on Bangladesh in 'revenge' series
May 9, 2007 - 1:20:18 PM
Dhaka, May 9 - When India clash with Bangladesh in the first of the three one-day internationals here Thursday, 'revenge' might well be the theme for the visitors who are more than aware that a repeat of the World Cup defeat to the Bangladeshis will invite fresh backlash at home.
This is India's first series after their first-round exit from the World Cup in the West Indies in March. But a drizzle Wednesday morning has cast a cloud over the match.
Although India captain Rahul Dravid has said it would not be a 'revenge' series, he and his teammates will be anxious to erase some of the disappointment of the World Cup debacle in the West Indies where going down to Bangladesh ensured their unexpected exit.
India will be up against the tide when they take the field at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, a city suburb, where they have not played before.
The home crowd, the familiar pitch and the conditions all give Bangladesh an edge. And they have the big psychological advantage of their stunning World Cup showing.
'Every series in international cricket is difficult. Yes, it is challenging and we are ready to take that challenge,' said Dravid of the battle that has assumed greater importance in the context of the World Cup.
India's task will be tougher as the selectors have 'rested' Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly for the ODI series, picking them only for the two-match Test battle that will follow.
In addition, the Indian camp received a jolt Tuesday when batsman Manoj Tiwary injured his shoulder during practice, reducing the squad to 14 players.
Medical experts have ruled Tiwary out of any activity for five days. The prolific Bengal batsman could even be sent back home if his right shoulder does not improve soon. A decision will be taken after the arrival of Dilip Vengsarkar, chairperson of selectors.
Tiwary is one of the two new faces in the ODI squad, the other being leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.
The selection of the Indian team also courted controversy after cricket board president Sharad Pawar asked the selectors to pick a 'young team' for the Bangladesh tour, following which the selectors 'rested' Tendulkar and Ganguly and picked the two youngsters.
In the absence of the stalwarts, India will be banking on Virender Sehwag, the lone Indian centurion at the World Cup, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir besides the most experienced player in the squad, Dravid.
Dravid was hit on the nose during the preparatory camp in Kolkata but he seems to have recovered to lead the team. He even batted at the nets Wednesday.
Dravid's injury highlighted the non-appointment of a vice-captain for this series. Had it been serious, it would have been an embarrassing situation for India.
Bangladeshis are full of confidence. The youngest of the 10 Test-playing countries, they have come a long way since making their international debut in 2000.
Earlier, they have beaten Australia - and India - in the ODIs - an indication of their improvement under Dav Whatmore's tutelage. For Whatmore, this will be the last series as Bangladesh coach.
Also this will be skipper Habibul Bashar's last home ODI series and he would obviously like to go out on a winning note.
'This will be my last one-day series at home and I want to leave on a high. Definitely the target is to get back among the runs and help the team,' he said.
Bashar is optimistic but cautious about his team's win.
'They - are still a formidable unit and it will be a tough series. I will be happy if we can play to our potential. One win will be good, and if the opportunity arises we might go for a series win but the goal is to be competitive,' he said.
The selectors have reposed faith in the World Cup squad. They have dropped only one player, Rajin Saleh because they had to reduce the squad from 15 to 14 for this series.
Fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, who dismantled the Indian batting at the World Cup, will be a big threat as will be talented batsmen Mohammad Ashraful, who has been elevated to vice-captaincy and Shahriar Nafees.
The pitch is expected to be batsman friendly, said curator Badiul Alam.
India: Rahul Dravid -, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni -, Dinesh Karthick, Manoj Tiwari, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar and Dinesh Mongia
Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar -, Mohammad Ashraful -, Javed Omar, Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim -, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Rasel, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Rafique and Farhad Reza
Umpires: Asoka de Silva - and Nadir Shah -
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama -
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