Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2014 Contents A63
June 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
"I didn t expect them to take
this series so lightly," Mushfiqur
Rahim had said after taking a look
at India s second-string squad for
the three-match ODI series
Just how lightly? Sample this.
The bowlers in this India squad
have played a combined 87 ODIs.
Abdur Razzak has played 150.
Mashrafe Mortaza, in spite of all
his injuries, has played 133. In fact,
no player in this squad barring the
captain Suresh Raina has played
even 40 ODIs.
"After seeing their team, I
realised that there will more expec-
tations on us," Mushfiqur said.
Which is what makes this series
stand out from a usual India-
Bangladesh contest. Without any
disrespect to them, Bangladesh are
never expected to beat India. When
they have done so on the odd occa-
sion in the past, like in the 2007
World Cup and the 2012 Asia Cup,
defeat has come as a shock for the
Trying to compete, giving a fight.
These are standard utterances from
Mushfiqur ahead of a clash with
big sides. This time, Bangladesh
cannot go in any with any expec-
tation less ambitious than winning
the series. They are a far more
capable side one-day side in home
conditions than their recent results
They have three established star
batsmen in Mushfiqur, Shakib Al
Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, they have
a highly promising younger crop
in Nasir Hossain, Anamul Haque
and Mominul Haque. Mortaza has
young quicks such as Al-Amin
Hossain and Taskin Ahmed to
assist him. The spin department
has the usual names to call upon.
What Bangladesh should ideally
want to achieve will not change
India s expectations from the series.
Raina will not want another dud
on his captaincy resume after the
Zimbabwe tri-series of 2010. That
hardly anyone in his side can count
himself as a guaranteed starter in
a full-strength India line-up will
motivate them. As also the fact
that if they lose, it will be India
that would have lost, and not India
A, as Mushfiqur has helpfully
pointed out. (ESPNcricinfo)
Bangladesh's chance to
Suresh Raina, the India captain,
was swift to defend the squad he
has been charged with for the three
ODIs against Bangladesh.
Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu
and Amit Mishra are the only ones
in the squad to have played in India s
last 50-over game against a Full
Member, but Raina stressed the
selectors had to consider India s cal-
"I don t think they took the series
lightly. The England tour is coming
up and so few of the players are rest-
ed," Raina said. "If you look at the
side, all the players have done well
in the IPL and first-class cricket.
The World Cup is coming up and
you need to try a lot of players. I
think it is a good opportunity for
youngsters to do really well in this
series and see how it goes in upcom-
"I think the Bangladesh captain
said we are coming with the A team.
We are playing between two coun-
tries. It s really important for us to
play fearless cricket. A lot of our
players have done really well and I
think the series is a good platform,
to cement their places in the team."
And there are vacancies to be tar-
geted. India look settled at the top
of an innings, but the middle order
is far from decided. The space
between Virat Kohli at No. 3 and
MS Dhoni at No. 6 courts several
contenders. Cheteshwar Pujara will
try to convince the selectors of his
fluency in limited-overs cricket.
Raina will look to regain some trust
after a lean spell.
Ajinkya Rahane will want to mend
his iffy strike-rate of 68.78 in ten
innings batting between Nos 3 and
7. Ambati Rayudu will hunt for the
innings that makes people stand up
and take notice and Manoj Tiwary
will need to prove his fitness as much
as his talent.
During a practice session, Duncan
Fletcher, the coach, conveyed he
would like five minutes with all the
new guys. Two of them were in the
middle of batting practice. Kedar
Jadhav, another contender in the
middle-order scrum, was having
good success smothering a spinner,
a healthy skill to manoeuvre runs
without taking too much risk. Beside
him, Tiwary was punching through
the covers and lofting down the
ground. Clarity at the crease was
what he wanted---going right back
or right forward.
"When I was out of the squad, it
was because of my knee injury and
not poor form," Tiwary had said.
"Just before that I had scored a hun-
dred for India A against Australia.
So once I was match-fit, I knew my
time would come." His belief has
paid off, but the management will
now demand performance. After
two years in the wilderness due to
a spate of injuries, he will want that
In the adjoining net, Pujara was
trying to gain a leg up in the race,
polishing his bowling skills. He ran
up sedately and landed a loopy
legspinner on middle and off. As the
batsman defended, Pujara willed his
wrists to impart greater rip. He got
back to his mark and the process
continued---the odd and exaggerated
roll of the wrist and flighted deliv-
eries on middle---until the end of
Pujara has been eager to assist
India s plans for 2015 and had adver-
tised an interest in bowling to help
gain a permanent spot in the XI. His
control was promising but not
threatening and the effort he put in
epitomised what his captain desired.
"Some players are coming back
to the Indian team, some are getting
their chance to play. It s important
to stick to together," Raina said. "It
is a short tour for us, seven days,
three one-dayers and no gaps in
between. You have to plan very well
and work really hard."
The lure of a defining World Cup
performance had been party to cur-
tailing Jacques Kallis Test career.
VVS Laxman s regret over not being
able to participate in one is also com-
mon knowledge. All 15 players were
mindful of avoiding that situation,
even as the afternoon sun blazed
Raina: Need to try
players before World Cup
Suresh Raina will be looking to
regain the trust of the selectors
after a lean ODI patch.
Mushfiqur Rahim, the
Bangladesh captain, wants his
team to display better body lan-
guage on the field in the three
ODIs against India, as the side
looks to break a seven-match los-
ing streak. Mushfiqur said once
the side was physically positive,
it would translate to better results.
"We lost seven one-dayers this
year and in terms of body lan-
guage, we were a bit different,"
Mushfiqur said. "I want that
authority in the field. Hopefully
we can forget the defeats and start
fresh tomorrow (today). If we can
start well tomorrow (today) and
finish, the pressure will be on
"We have learned that in ODIs,
you have to play good cricket for
100 overs. You can t win by just
playing well for two hours. We had
a few classes [by a life success
coach] that helped us as well. The
new coaching staff has come so
we have worked hard."
Bangladesh have had their
opposition in trouble a few times
this year, but have failed to grab
the advantage. They had Sri Lanka
at 67 for eight in an ODI, before
dropped catches helped the batting
side put up 180, and Bangladesh
batted with less intensity in the
slog overs during the ODI series.
During the Asia Cup, they let Virat
Kohli run away with the game after
setting India a target of 280.
They conceded a massive
advantage against Afghanistan,
after having reduced them to 90
for five, and then chased poorly.
Against Pakistan, they did not
attack too much with the ball or
in the field despite scoring 326,
and against Sri Lanka in the final
group game, Bangladesh once
again let the game slip after having
the opposition at 75 for five.
Mushfiqur said the losing streak,
and not a weakened opposition,
would work as extra motivation
for Bangladesh. He had earlier
voiced disappointment at India s
squad, which does not include
eight regulars including MS Dhoni
and Kohli, but stated it was the
right opportunity to send a mes-
sage across to the powers that be.
"We didn t win any ODIs in
2014 so that could be an extra
motivation," he said. "This is
another chance for us. If we play
very well, we might even win all
the three games, so this is a dif-
"This is a young Indian side but
they are a strong unit. All the good
IPL players have come but it will
not be very easy for them. T20
and ODIs are different. It will be
a challenging series.
After the string of losses in ODIs
and during the World T20 at
home, Bangladesh players were
predictably low in confidence.
Some of them found form in
domestic first-class cricket, while
someone like Shakib Al Hasan was
in the thick of things in the IPL.
The team has also trained in
Mirpur for the last three weeks,
and Mushfiqur felt they would
have to translate that hard training
on the field.
"It is important for us to return
to play as we have done as a group
in the last two years," he said.
"Maybe we haven t done that in
2014. We need to show that we
can play that sort of cricket again.
We have been working hard during
training, now we have to bring that
display on the field."
Mushfiqur demands better
body language from team
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