ICL: Indian Cricket League

New-look India face youthful challenge


Things have changed a lot since India last visited Bangladesh. Rahul Dravid, after a tough practice session today, said as much. “Bangladesh have improved a lot since last time. Their team has changed a lot. You can see they are playing some really good cricket. We are aware of that and expect a stiffer challenge than the last time.”

India had become the first team to lose an ODI to Bangladesh in Bangladesh then. They have beaten Australia, Sri Lanka, India again, and South Africa in one-dayers and come within three wickets of beating Australia in a Test match too.

The Indian team themselves wear a different look. They are without a coach; they have a cricketing manager instead. For the first time they are touring with a bowling coach and a fielding coach. There is no Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, or Harbhajan Singh in the team. Instead, looking to make debuts are Manoj Tiwary and Piyush Chawla. Dravid praised both of them on the way they have performed in domestic cricket and said they had earned the opportunity. “It’s not only this series, selectors are investing in these players for the long-term future. They are exciting talents and good players,” Dravid said.

Following the shoulder injury to Manoj Tiwary, another possible injury was evaded when a Sreesanth beamer hit Ramesh Powar’s left glove at the nets. Powar went off for a moment, but came back to bat and field without any obvious discomfort.

After having taken yesterday off, India trained hard today in the afternoon heat of Mirpur. The first look of the ground conditions - what with temperatures hovering around 35 degree Celsius through the day and a high humidity - has suggested this is going to be a tough tour physically. “It’s going to be challenging, especially for the bowlers,” Dravid said, “But the conditions are same for both the teams. Kolkata camp has been good for us in that regard.”

The nets, otherwise, followed India’s normal routine of late - two batsmen go out on two simultaneous wickets; pace bowlers bowl on one and spinners on the other. The spinners’ net is observed by Ravi Shastri, the pacers’ by Venkatesh Prasad. The batsmen interchange when they are done with one type of bowlers. Two players, at the same time, practice catches with Robin Singh and Greg King.

With a day to go before the first one-dayer, India haven’t zeroed in on any particular combination. “Any 11 out of the 15 can play,” Dravid said, “We are going to play according to the conditions; we are pretty clear we are going to be putting the best team possible. If it means some have to sit out, they will sit out.”

Source:Cricket News

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