Cheteshwar Pujara gets a golden opportunity to show his wares in ODIs against Bangladesh © PTI
Dhaka: Jun 14, 2014
India‘s fringe players will have a chance to impress the selectors in the build-up to next year’s cricket ICC World Cup 2014 on Sunday when they begin a short one-day series tour to Bangladesh.
The visitors are without eight regulars, including captain MS Dhoni and the prolific Virat Kohli, for the three day-night matches, which will all be played at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in the capital Dhaka and led by Suresh Raina.
Just four members of the squad — Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Wriddhiman Saha — will fly to England later in the month for a marquee tour comprising five Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20.
The series offers the likes of Pujara, who has six Test centuries but has played in just two one-dayers, a chance to stake their claims to a place in the squad for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“It is a good opportunity for all the young players who are part of this tour,” Pujara, 26, said after being named for the Bangladesh series.
“Playing against Bangladesh in their home conditions won’t be that easy. Bangladesh is a good team. We have a young side so it will be competitive.”
For Bangladesh, it will be their first series under new coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, who has been handed a two-year contract following the recent departure of Australian Shane Jurgensen.
Hathurusinghe would be keen to start off on a winning note and turn around the fortunes of the perennial whipping boys of international cricket.
“My main goal is to make sure that when my two years is finished, Bangladesh are in a good position to win matches at home and away,” the former Sri Lankan opening batsman said in a press conference earlier this week.
Ranked a lowly ninth in ODIs, Bangladesh have had a string of disappointing shows recently with a 3-0 whitewash against Sri Lanka followed by early knockouts from the Asia Cup and World Twenty20 despite being hosts of both tournaments.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said the team had an opportunity to bounce back with a good show against the second-string Indian side.
“I didn’t expect them to take this series so lightly,” the wicketkeeper batsman told reporters recently.
“We have a chance to give a reply on the field. There is extra motivation.
“And one should not forget that if they lose, India will lose, not India A,” the skipper added.
India, the World Cup holders, currently lie third in the One-Day International (ODI) rankings.
The other two matches are on June 17 and 19.