India aim to end 15-year title drought at Asia Cup | world | Hindustan Times
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India aim to end 15-year title drought at Asia Cup

world Updated: Jun 15, 2010 14:04 IST
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A rejuvenated India would aim to redeem their tarnished pride and end a 15-year-old jinx when they start their Asia Cup cricket campaign against Bangladesh at the Rangiri Dambulla ground here tomorrow.

Hurting from their debacles in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup (West Indies) and the tri-series in Zimbabwe, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men would be desperate to win back the confidence of fans after being accused of being more loyal to their IPL teams than the country.

The Asia Cup title, which they last won in 1995, will be the perfect balm to calm frayed nerves and bury the ghosts of the recent past.

Unlike in the West Indies and Zimbabwe, India have a near full-strength team to achieve what they have set out for.

Except for Sachin Tendulkar, who opted to spend time with his family, and Yuvraj Singh, dropped for poor form, India more or less have the nucleus of the 2011 World Cup team here.

Virender Sehwag's return provides the firepower to the batting which had been rudderless without substantial starts at the top of the order.

The Delhi marauder, who was nursing a shoulder injury, is arguably one of the most feared batsman in international cricket capable of demolishing any attack on his day.

Dhoni would be looking forward to fireworks from his deputy to reignite the confidence of his beleaguered legion. If Sehwag can provide a blistering start in the company of Gautam Gambhir, the rest of the batting, propped up by the youthful exuberance of Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli should be capable of holding its own in the four-nation event.

Dhoni would also be itching to set the record straight, especially after his leadership was questioned in the immediate aftermath of the Twenty20 World Cup.

He might bat up the order, probably at four or five, depending on the start provided by the top-half.