India confident but wary of unpredictable Bangla

Published: Thursday, June 12, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Dhaka: Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Team India have hit purple patch in the recent past and are keen to prolong it when they take-on the unpredictable Bangladesh in the final tri-series league tie at the sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur here on Thursday.

Coach Gary Kirsten has made it clear that his side is in no mood to get complacent in an all-important tie which will determine the finalists.

''We'd like to think that we are not (complacent). We're a professional outfit and our preparation for each game will be as diligent and efficient as the one before,'' Kirsten said.

The Indian coach also suggested that the match against Bangla could see a few changes in the playing XI.

''They (Bangladesh) are a different sets of players. We respect them and we're not going to take anything for granted."

''As per our policy we are looking to rotate players. Where ever we feel there's an opportunity to rotate, we're going to look at it,'' he added.

However, he did not reveal that who would make it to the playing XI when specifically asked about Robin Uthappa.

''It's difficult to single out individuals. We haven't made a decision on who is going to be rotated,'' he said.

Kirsten further exuded confidence on the bench strength of his team which has played well whenever they were provided opportunities in the absence of seniors proving the critics wrong.

''We're experimenting. We're going to rotate players so we're experimenting with different combinations and options. It's a luxury that India have at the moment with a lot of young players coming through. We're trying to find the best combination. We're certainly not going to look at keeping things the same for too long,'' he said.

In all probability India would look to test its debutants Manpreet Gony and Pragyan Ojha.

The last two games have seen batsmen complaining about the colour of the ball which become quite dark during the course of the match.

Kirsten admitted that the clay tracks at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium were making it difficult for the batsmen to spot the ball after the 25th over.

''The rules are that the ball can only be changed at 35 overs, we have put in a request that if both teams do agree that we can maybe change that ruling. It's been told to me that it's going to be difficult to do for this game, which is fair enough."

''But depending on the teams that go through to the final, they can bring in a local ruling to change it to 30 overs but that's in the hands of the ICC. I think the players have felt it is quite difficult to see the ball even after the 25th over,'' he added.

For Bangladesh, it would be a do-or-die match as a defeat would close the doors to the finals.

The home team were comprehensively defeated by Pakistan by 70 runs in the opening match of the tournament.

However, rain has been a cause of concern in the tournament so far but Bangla would prefer to play this all-important game as no play would result in their exit from the tri-series.

Bangla captain Mohammad Ashraful, however, pointed out that his boys have beaten India before, including in last year's World Cup and that would be something that his boys would look to repeat.

''It is quite possible. We have beaten India twice in the recent past. If we apply the same processes of those victories, we could win,'' Ashraful said after the team's practice session here.

The task for the home team is more than tough, especially, considering the fact that Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag are going through an amazing run but Ashraful asserted that his side has a strategy ready to make early inroads.

''We have strategies for each and every player, not only their in-form openers.

''It is important to bowl on the right areas. Add to this our fielding and it will also be difficult for any batsmen to go for shots on this wicket,'' he said.

Squads (Probables):

India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt-wk), Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha, Manpreet Gony and RP Singh.

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Raqibul Hasan, Alok Kapali, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza, Dollar Mahmud, Abdur Razzak and Farhad Reza.


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