The fact that Bangladesh beat India in the World Cup is the only reason why we are attaching any importance to the current series. All the euphoria following Thursday’s hard fought victory makes me think, however, that we are probably reading too much into a series that is, after all, being played against a weaker team.
The win in the first ODI, therefore, should not be seen as an indication that the Indian team is back in form or that all the problems on view during the World Cup have vanished.
I have no desire, however, to take anything away from the partnership that Mahendra Singh Dhoni put together with Dinesh Karthik, but we must have a sense of perspective here.
The fact is that India did not have to face a quality bowling attack at Mirpur on Thursday. Bangladesh still rely primarily on spinners who will come good only in helpful conditions, and I think the only positive that India can take from the first match is the amazing maturity that Dhoni showed in conditions that were less than ideal for cricket.
Dhoni overcame the extreme heat and humidity as well as the pressure of having to extricate the team from a fairly precarious situation.
I thought it was a good move by the team management to move Dhoni up the order, as it gave him time to pace his innings in the gruelling heat. And of course, Karthik provided able support to make sure India didn’t suffer any tense moments in the final overs.
I have read a few reports that suggest that the presence of Mashrafe Mortaza would have made life tougher for India but I disagree. On current form, there is nothing really extraordinary about him.
However, like his team, he has the potential to excel, so there’s no point in forcibly creating heroes. Facing Mortaza on the slow Mirpur pitch would not really have tested India’s weakness against pace and bounce.
Having been attached to Bangladesh in a coaching
capacity, I can say that they have the makings of a very good one-day side, but I think they still need more time before they can
consistently start beating big sides.
They need to regularly play the major teams rather than compete against Zimbabwe and Kenya. International exposure remains limited, and as a Test-playing nation, Bangladesh need to expand its horizons.
Saturday’s match should tell us whether the hosts have the resilience to overcome the loss.
My guess is that we will probably see another closely fought encounter because the sapping conditions are virtually levelling the playing field.