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Love thy neighbour...

cricket Updated: Jan 03, 2010 00:13 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
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The huge gates across the road leading to the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium and shamiyanas on either side of it, set up to celebrate the ushering in of a new decade, are yet to be taken down. But the people of Dhaka are already getting into celebratory mode for a different reason.

This one’s about cricket and unsurprisingly, the Indian stars, even minus Sachin Tendulkar, are the cynosure of all eyes.

The other talking point is, of course, the pitch. It seems the Kotla fiasco has kept organisers here on the edge too, for curators Badiul Alam Khokon and Gamini D’Silva, here on deputation from Sri Lanka to oversee the making of pitches, have been prohibited from speaking to the media by the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

India and Sri Lanka got an unplayable one in Delhi. Here, four strips have been prepared to play seven matches in 10 days, and organisers will be keeping fingers crossed to ensure the tournament happens without any hitches.

The triseries, featuring Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, starts on Monday with Bangladesh taking on Sri Lanka and the series has three pairs of back-to-back matches with a day’s gap between each pair and the final.

“We are used to such fixtures,” Khokon said. “So we have four strips prepared. But, I cannot tell you the nature of the wickets.”

By the look of it, though, the strips looked well-rolled and rather brownish, which would mean that the bowlers could be in for a hard time over the next few days.

With all matches scheduled to be played under lights the other factor that creeps in is the dew. The weather here, which is pretty much like that in Kolkata, means chasing will be a touch easier. Like at the Eden, where India easily chased down 316, Khokon too believes the toss could become vital in the series.

“There was heavy dew in the evening over the last couple of days and I don’t see the condition changing much during the tournament. Against Zimbabwe here Bangladesh won three consecutive matches chasing and though the batsmen played really well, the dew factor did help them.”