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After struggling to meet the expectations for a long time, Bangladesh have a golden opportunity of restoring some pride, by beating a team as strong as India at home. India’s second-string side that doesn’t have the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli presents Bangladesh an opportunity. Abhijit Banare looks at why this three-match One-Day International (ODI) series matters more to the hosts.
The three-match ODI series has already been termed as an appeasement theory on part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). In fact, it is less likely to be remembered by the average Indian fan once they proceed to England. As the new-look Indian team is set to visit its neighbouring nation, the opposition captain Mushfiqur Rahim has already taken a jibe with his ‘India A’ comment.
It’s surprising to see Rahim having a go at the Indians. The records show that Indian selectors have been more lenient in picking squads to Bangladesh. Hence, more than an ‘India A’ squad visiting, the Bangladesh skipper’s concern lies in his own court – i.e. to notch up the first win of the year at home (with half-a-year already gone by).
Let us briefly look at the record of Bangladesh this year at home:
|17-Feb||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|20-Feb||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|22-Feb||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|06-Mar||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|12-Feb||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|14-Feb||Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka|
|20-Mar||Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|25-Mar||West Indies||West Indies|
In 16 limited-overs matches, they have managed just two wins this year at home. And in the two Tests that they played against Sri Lanka, they drew one and lost the other. Bangladesh’s two consolation wins were in the ICC World T20 qualifiers against Afghanistan and Nepal. But much of that was undone after losing to Hong Kong.
While Bangladesh are still an underdog, they are no more ‘minnows’ in any tournament. Like a cricket crazy India, the fans in Bangladesh are forever hungry for wins, a fact which their team has not managed to live up to. With hardly any series scheduled in the near future, for young Rahim and his team, beating a team like India is the best chance to restore some lost pride.
With home advantage, and a full-strength squad in place, Bangladesh are hungry to secure a confidence-boosting win. Their next assignment is far away in August-September against the West Indies. The present Windies side isn’t as weak as they were when they met Bangladesh last time around. It would certainly be a stiff challenge for them to overpower the hosts.
Shakib Al Hasan spoke about the pressure of expectations that the Bangladeshi cricketers have. He suggested that in order to get rid of some of the pressure, it would help the team if they play cricket overseas for some time. He said, , “Players get puzzled under these pressures. It becomes difficult to believe in ourselves. When a player thinks that he will get dropped by playing poorly, he stops thinking about the team and only thinks about his game. When four-five players are thinking like this, the rest follow. Coach, captain and players cannot function properly. It would be best to play outside the country. There should not be any cricket at home for two years. The expectations of home fans will go down, which will be very good. We should understand how much we expect from the team.” Read Shakib’s full statement here.
The burden of expectations is certainly disturbing the side and a win in this series would provide a new leash of life to the Bangladesh team and their crazy fans.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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