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It’s India vs complacency

Having demolished Pakistan, MS Dhoni’s men now find themselves up against Bangladesh in a match they would be favourites to win, reports G Krishnan.

cricket Updated: Jun 12, 2008 02:38 IST
G Krishnan

India are on a high at the moment. Having demolished Pakistan on Tuesday, MS Dhoni’s men now find themselves up against hosts Bangladesh in a match they would be favourites to win.

But cricket is a game that has not always played according to script, and Bangladesh have surprised India in the past, the last time at the 2007 World Cup.

With India playing non-stop cricket for the next two years, rotation will be the key. And coach Gary Kirsten made that clear. “We have to look at players individually and look at the long term prospects,” he said on Wednesday. “We're going to rotate players, so we're experimenting with different combinations and options. It's a luxury that India have at the moment with a lot of young players coming through. We're trying to find the best combination. We're certainly not going to look at keeping things the same for too long."

This means that a few of the four who did not play against Pakistan, Robin Uthappa, RP Singh, Manpreet Gony and Pragyan Ojha, might get a look in on Thursday. Kirsten is also looking at the possibility of resting Dhoni ahead of the Saturday's final and the season ahead.

India had optional nets on Wednesday, with Ishant Sharma, Yusuf Pathan joining the substitutes from the first game and the entire support staff.

Everything points towards India winning on the morrow, and then claiming the title. But they have to guard against complacency. Bangladesh cannot be taken lightly, even though Mohammad Ashraful's young team doesn’t inspire confidence. Ashraful is however confident of putting up a good show. "A win against India is possible. Why not?" he asked. "We have beaten India twice in the recent past. If we apply the same processes of those victories, we could win on Thursday."

Bangladesh struggled against Pakistan in the opener, the only positives being the return to form of Ashraful and the spin of Abdur Razzak and Alok Kapali. Dollar Mahmud, the 19-year-old medium-pacer who made his debut four days ago, comes from the same place as Bangladesh's top pacer Mashrafe Mortaza and is one for the future.

Teams

Bangladesh: Md Ashraful (c), Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Tamim Iqbal, Alok Kopali, Abdur Razzak, Farhad Reza, Shahriar Nafees, Roqibul Hassan, Shahadat Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Dollar Mahmud, Mehrab Hossain (Jr).

India: MS Dhoni (c), Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Manpreet Gony.