New-look sides ready for Dhaka
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New-look sides ready for Dhaka

A three-nation tournament starts on Friday with South Africa in a rebuilding process, India testing the strength of reserves and Bangladesh still struggling.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2003 16:53 IST

A three-nation tournament starts here on Friday with South Africa in a rebuilding process, India testing the strength of their reserves and Bangladesh still struggling at the international level.

India enjoy a slight edge over South Africa because of familiar conditions more than for their effort in last month's World Cup as the outcome is likely to depend on how things fall in place for the two new-look teams.

Superstar Sachin Tendulkar is among the bunch of five prominent Indian players not playing either because of minor injuries or to rest after their long campaign in southern Africa.

In the absence of Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble and Ashish Nehra, the World Cup finalists get to blood players who have been knocking at the doors of international cricket for some time.

Paceman Aavishkar Salvi, left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir and leg-spinner Amit Mishra are the youngsters to be watched along with Abhijit Kale, a batsman on the domestic circuit for almost a decade.

All-rounders Sanjay Bangar and Ajit Agarkar and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, all of whom did not get to play in the World Cup, are also prominent members.

Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly said the options were open, including trying Gambhir at the top of the batting order along with Virender Sehwag, but the objective was to win the tournament.

"We want to win wherever we go and our mission here is the same," said Ganguly. "It is a young side but we have guys capable of stepping into the shoes of senior players."

South African captain Graeme Smith too expressed confidence in his team.

"We have some youngsters who really want to go out there and do well," said Smith, who replaced Shaun Pollock at the helm after South Africa crashed out in the first round of the World Cup.

"My job is to instil freshness in the team," said 22-year-old Smith, who is all set to become South Africa's youngest-ever captain.

But he has the difficult job of ensuring the void left by the retirement of Allan Donald, Jonty Rhodes and Gary Kirsten is not felt.

South African selectors also decided not to pick experienced players Lance Klusener and Nicky Boje while Jacques Kallis could not make it here because of his father's illness.

But the team management was hoping Kallis would join the team at some point during the tournament as they have not come with a replacement for the star all-rounder.

Hosts Bangladesh, who take on India in the opening match on Friday, have a difficult task of trying to improve a dismal record of just three wins in 62 one-dayers.

Bangladesh, who won Test status ahead of this year's World Cup semifinalists Kenya, have not won a match since beating Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup.

That has been their only victory against a Test playing country, the other wins coming over Kenya and Scotland.

"The team's performance in the World Cup left a lot to be desired. But we have to show that we are capable of doing better," said Khaled Mahmud, who has taken over captaincy from Khaled Mashud.

First Published: Apr 10, 2003 14:02 IST