India will be on guard against Bangladesh. The smaller nation has credible performers in Tamim Iqbal and Shaqibul Hasan and a clutch of spinners who can spell trouble for any line-up in helpful conditions.
That the young Indians came a cropper against the Zimbabwean spinners recently would be an encouraging thought to them. Three of the Indian young guns in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina struggled in Zimbabwe.
India have no time to lose. The countdown to World Cup 2011 has begun in earnest. Not many are convinced of their ability to do well in multi-team events. Their qualification to the second round has usually depended on run-rates. history and recent form don’t support them in their quest. They haven’t won an Asia Cup title for 15 years. India’s record in Sri Lanka though has been good, as they have won back-to-back bilateral series and a triangular series there.
In good sides, the roles of individuals are defined. Thus in batting, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag will be expected to provide the thrust and platform, the middle order to consolidate and for Dhoni to do the job of a finisher.
Traditionally, Dambulla doesn’t provide big scores and four runs an over on an average is the norm. India must not aim big but set small goals and then gradually build on them. The toss would matter too, as under lights Dambulla is known to help the new-ball bowlers just that little bit extra.
I would be keen to see how the fast bowlers shape up on this tour. How everyone wishes for a young talent like Ashok Dinda to come and seize his moment. He can be a useful operator under lights with his skiddy stuff. Among spinners, I hope Harbhajan returns to his wicket-taking ways.