Road to World Cup starts from here
India last won the Asia Cup in 1995 and it’s not just the 15-year jinx that MS Dhoni would like to break when they take on Bangladesh today, but hit the right notes before next year’s World Cup, reports Bivabasu Kumar.cricket Updated: Jun 16, 2010 02:42 IST
Hundred and eight days is a long period to get rid of any habit, no matter how chronic. The last time Indian skipper MS Dhoni played a 50-over game this year was in February 27 against South Africa. It was followed by a barrage of T20s in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that had a cascading effect on India’s performance in the World Twenty20.
Fatigue was writ large on everyone’s face and seven seniors of the squad, including Dhoni, were rested for the Zimbabwe tri-series. While the BCCI will be hoping to make up for the tri-series loss, the performance of the seniors in the Asia Cup will indicate how judiciously they utilized the breather.
India last won the Asia Cup in 1995 and it’s not just the 15-year jinx that MS Dhoni would like to break when they take on Bangladesh on Wednesday, but hit the right notes before next year’s World Cup.
Virender Sehwag and Praveen Kumar are returning from injuries and it is important they get their rhythm early. Gautam Gambhir showed susceptibility to short deliveries in West Indies.
Zaheer Khan’s return should bolster the attack and all four would need to get into the groove.
India’s middle-order looks rock-solid with Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, but is rendered slightly precarious due to their late arrival from Zimbabwe.
Sachin Tendulkar is rested and Jharkhand’s Saurabh Tiwary has earned his maiden call-up after a successful IPL. The time is now for Dhoni to start mapping out a squad for the World Cup with the available talent pool.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, will be hoping for a turnaround after recent failures. Despite a series whitewash against England at home and a not-so fascinating away tour, the Tigers can still pull off an upset win.
Tamim Iqbal is in form after his back-to-back Test hundreds against England and the move to bring in Mohammad Ashraful can prove useful. The Bangladesh middle-order has shown a propensity to collapse under pressure, but India won’t relax having lost against the minnows in the past.