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The ascendant Bangladesh team is hosting India for a 3-match series just after having knocked them out of the the 2007 World Cup. The author previews this intriguing series that has now assumed new stature.

ODI series Preview, India in Bangladesh 2007: Bangladesh aim to continue ascendancy over confused India

Published: 6th May, 2007

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Two teams that met in the World Cup in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 17th March 2007, are facing each other again, for a 3 match ODI series. After the fanciful dream of a Bangladesh win turned into reality and resulted in chaos in the commercial capital of cricket, world cricket is now enjoying a completely different build-up for the series. Amid uncertainty of supremacy in the shorter version of the game, Bangladesh is hoping to win an ODI series against India for the first time in their cricket history.

While the win over India in the World Cup paved the way for more cricketing successes for Bangladesh, it hit India with more disarray than they had ever faced in their rich cricketing history. The World Cup exit at the hand of Bangladesh, a team they denied to host for years for commercial reasons, has rung in changes to Indian cricket, and have opened up a veritable Pandora's box which they are now struggling to close.

Coach axed, senior players rebuked, endorsements scrapped, payments denied, key players getting injured, and refusals to sign contract, these are the headlines hitting the Indian newspapers ahead of a very crucial Bangladesh tour. After their premature World Cup exit, things are going from bad to worse for Indian cricket. Amid this disarray, Indian players are facing intense heat from the fans, endorsements and cricket board to perform, and restore the pride of Indian cricket.

On the contrary, after a very successful World Cup mission, Bangladesh is enjoying their best moments of cricketing history. Players getting receptions, World Cup reward money, positive media attention, never ending fan affection and the warmth of home conditions before facing India again. The Bangladesh outfit is representing itself as a happy family, who are ready to say good bye to Dav Whatmore, their father figure coach, after a successful stint of four years.

Bangladesh fans, who always express gratitude to every little success of the Tigers, watched the glorious moments of Bangladesh cricket on the television. Now, a refreshing looking young Bangladesh is aiming to topple India, yet another time, in front of their fans at home. While Bangladesh discovered confidence at the World Cup, Indian confidence and pride is shattered badly and recent developments are making them increasingly confused over their future strategies. Bangladesh is keen to exploit every single opportunity to continue the ascendancy they ruthlessly displayed over the Indians in Trinidad.

Bangladesh have kept their faith on their World Cup squad. They have made no changes for the India series except for dropping Rajin Saleh, who has not featured in any of the World Cup matches. The spirit is high in the team, and skipper Habibul Bashar is upbeat about winning the ODI series.

"There is always pressure in a home series and now the expectation is high after our victory against India. India will definitely be desperate to erase the bitter memory but I am confident of beating them again. I think it is difficult but not impossible to win the one-day series against India," said Bashar after returning from the Caribbean. The whole team echoed his voice and they are keen to retain the hard earned respect, knowing a series win over India can only enhance it.

India aiming to avenge World Cup defeat

India aiming to avenge World Cup defeat © Cricinfo

Indian selectors tried hard to deliver a new look Indian team. In a bid to look to the future, the board wanted young players after the shambolic defeat at the hands of the Bangladeshi youth brigade averaging only 18 years. In spite of this desire, the scenario remains the same as selectors could only manage to offer two places for young talents in the 14 member squad. Manoj Tiwary and Piyush Chawla earned their places in the squad, and there is a slim hope that any one of them will get a nod in the playing XI. Ironically, none of the future talents managed to find their names in the Test squad.

Dropping out of form Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agarkar from the ODI team, and selecting Dinesh Mongia, Romesh Powar and Sreesanth in their place could hardly camouflage the fact that India still believes in their old and tested cricketers, and are not yet ready to groom young stars for the future.

None of the Indian batsmen except Yuvraj Singh is enjoying good form and the rest have to rely on net practices to gain their form back as there is no tour match scheduled before the ODI series. Inclusion of Sreesanth and RP Singh will boost India’s bowling attack, but lack of quality spinner in spin friendly Bangladesh conditions is a significant weakness.

After starting the preparation camp in Kolkata, where conditions are somewhat similar to Bangladesh, India faced more dramatic developments that dented their plans for the Bangladesh series. Both Sachin and Dravid managed to get themselves injured. The players have refused to sign the contract over pay disputes. Things really are not looking ideal for “Team India” who face an acid test in the up-coming ODI series. Newly appointed coach-cum-manager Ravi Shastri is trying hard to restore order and discipline, which is the key requirement for the Indian team, who are facing constant criticism and aiming to bounce back.

Bangladesh earned their confidence after a historic win over India in Trinidad

Bangladesh earned their confidence after a historic win over India in Trinidad © Cricinfo

Bangladesh have progressed significantly as an ODI outfit over the last couple of years. After their World Cup success, they have earned valuable confidence to compete at the top level. Having said that, lack of consistency still remains a major concern for the young Bangladesh team. Bangladesh have consistently managed to mix the best with the worst, and some superb performances are more than often marred by below par displays. They must find the right balance to continue the success they achieved in the World Cup. While the bowling department has performed and elevated them to world standards, the batting has let the team down on numerous occasions.

The Bangladeshi top order must find their lost rhythm in favorable home conditions to outshine India. The aggressive and positive intent of Tamim Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful is the key to Bangladesh’s success in ODIs, but failure to control the rush of blood is another key concern. Both out of form Shahriar Nafees, who lost his vice-captaincy to Mohammad Ashraful, and skipper Habibul Bashar, who is playing his last home series in ODI, need to sort out their batting woes to stabilize the explosive but fragile batting order.

The spin trio of Bangladesh is the heart of the bowling attack and the smothering influence of Mohammad Rafique, Abdur Razzak and Sakib Al Hasan has lifted Bangladesh even in the most difficult bowling conditions. They are expected to fire on all cylinders in favorable home conditions and their domination can effectively tie up even the spin experienced Indian batting line up.

The new ball bowlers, Mashrafe Mortaza and Syed Rasel, provide the effective balance in the attack. Both of them are genuine wicket takers. While Mashrafe surprises the opposition with his pace and swing, Rasel deceives batsmen with accuracy and lack of pace. Considering current form, Bangladesh will be heading to the ODI series with a much better and balanced bowling attack compared to rival India.

Bangladesh have already established their supremacy in fielding, which is the third frontier of the game, over their sub-continental rivals, India and Pakistan. The aging Indian cricket team will find it difficult to deal with the youthful and agile Tigers, and this can make a real difference in a keenly contested series.

Bangladesh is trying to cope with a busy schedule of International cricket, as they got only a week's rest after a grueling three-month long Caribbean mission. A success over apparently struggling India, who received sufficient rest due to their first round exit from the World Cup, can bring some refreshing moments for the Tigers.

With confidence running high, Bangladesh are aiming to continue their ascendancy over their neighbor, who until recently considered Bangladesh as an easy walkover. The youth brigade is ready to offer more sleepless night to the declining cricket super-power, in a bid to establish them as a new powerhouse of world cricket.

 

About the author(s): Khondaker Mirazur Rahman spends as much time on BanglaCricket as on his Post-Doctoral research on Gene Targeted Drug Design. Like a true scientist his articles are all well researched. He goes by the nick "Miraz" on our forums and is also a BanglaCricket editor.

 

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