Fresh beginning for India in ODIs against upbeat Bangladesh
Mirpur: It will be a fresh beginning for a full-strength India in limited overs cricket after the World Cup semifinal exit as they face a buoyant Bangladesh, who have more to gain than their famed neighbours, in the three-match ODI series starting here tomorrow.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is back at the helm, along with six other ODI specialists to take on a side that made the cricket world sit up and take notice by reaching the 2015 World Cup quarterfinals, where they were knocked out by an in-form Indian side.
The series is a platform for the hosts to exact revenge for the World Cup defeat, which had turned ugly after the then ICC President Mustafa Kamal of Bangladesh accused the umpires of favouring India.
As far as the Indian team is concerned, even a 3-0 result against the hosts will not be enough for the second-placed side to claim the number one spot in the ICC rankings, while a favourable outcome for the home team will boost its qualifying chances for the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Besides an opportunity to erase the memories of the World quarterfinal debacle Down Under, the prospect of earning a Champions Trophy berth will be motivation enough for the Tigers to roar.
Arriving here with their main team, India have given enough indication of, in Suresh Raina's words, “how important a series this is for us”.
From the Indian squad's point of view, this series is a far cry from the one that played against the same opponents in June last year. Back then, eight first-choice players were rested for a three-ODI tour and seven of them are part of this one.
The seven players - Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar - were seen in the nets at the academy ground of the Shere Bangla National Stadium ahead of the first game.
Asked if the series holds significance, Raina said, “Yes definitely. You saw that after the IPL, the full Test team came and now the full ODI team has come.
“Bangladesh have done well in ODIs recently, and this shows how important a series this is for us. We have done well in ODIs recently, and we are looking forward to it.”