As India begin their tour of Bangladesh, the players face a dilemma of sorts. If they do well, they will receive little credit but if they fare badly, the criticism will be intense and harsh. And the problem is compounded by the fact that this is hardly the right time to play cricket anywhere in the subcontinent.
As it used to happen earlier, the cricket season in this part of the world should end in April and resume around September. So when the ICC announced its Future Tours Programme, I think India should have asked for a schedule where they would not have had to play in such conditions.
While the heat and humidity will play a major role in the series, the Indian team will also be under some pressure to prove that the loss to Bangladesh in the World Cup was a one-off incident. Obviously, India will not take Bangladesh lightly, but I would expect the boys to approach the series in a more charged-up fashion.
There is no denying the fact Bangladesh have improved considerably over the years, as a one-day team in particular. Consistency has eluded them, so despite the recent wins over South Africa and India, I would expect India to exploit this factor.
Having said that, Bangladesh will enjoy the home advantage and be confident as they recently beat India. I personally feel we will not see more than one upset in the one-day series, and none in the Tests.
There is also an air of uncertainty within the Indian team. Right now, they have experienced personnel at the helm in the form of Ravi Shastri, Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh. But all these are temporary appointments. I am surprised that the Indian board did not finalise these vacancies between the World Cup and this tour.
There is an air of compromise about much of the team selection as it stands now, with the idea of keeping everyone happy.
There have been reports in the media of some selectors revealing behind-the-scene details of what went on in the Indian dressing room during Greg Chappell’s tenure. But I would pay little attention to these reports if I were an Indian cricketer. Such controversies are needless and avoidable.
Granted, this tour is not as important as the one to England. Yet it is still a series that will see the introduction of a few new faces in the team.