After some unfortunate local incidents, the Bangladesh-India tour is all set to start. Although Chittagong is currently being checked out, in all likelihood the full series will go on as planned. So what are the goals, predictions, and advice I can offer? Read on, O ye loyal patrons of Bangladeshi cricket.
This is perhaps one of the most awaited tours for Bangladesh in a long while. Mashrafee bin Mortaza, our fastest bowler, returns from a year long, career-threatening injury. Talha Jubair and skipper Habibul Bashar are back as well. For the first time since I can practically remember, Bangladesh are at full strength.
Bangladesh will be looking to repeat the first innings success they had in their inaugural test against India back in November 2000. Batting first, Bangladesh played well behind Aminul Islam's 145 to reach 400. However, after bowling India out for 429, the Tigers managed just 91 runs in their second innings. The Indians lost just one wicket in chasing down the small second innings target score.
Bangladesh vs. India, Only Test Scorecard
|Mashrafee bin Mortaza, our fastest bowler, returns from a year long, career-threatening injury.|
If Bangladesh are at full strength, India too, are at full strength. Well at least in Test matches. India's surprising rise to third in the ICC Test rankings table is due in large part to recent successes in Australia (tied series 1-1), Pakistan (2-1), and against South Africa (1-0). As an ODI team, they have been struggling of late, however India are heavily favored to win both forms of the game by a whitewash.
India's strength lies in her batting depth. Tendulkar, Sehwag, Dravid, Ganguly, the list of batsmen who could single handedly defeat a team just goes on and on. Pathan has had a history of annihilating Bangladeshi batsmen, and no doubt is licking his chops right now. Khan, Kumble, and Harbajan, complete a bowling line-up that we may just be able to match.
For Bangladesh, all eyes are focused on the batsmen. Javed, Nafees, Ashraful, Bashar, Rajin, and Aftab are the batsmen that will receive the most intense scrutiny. Of that group, at least three need to play big innings if we are to have a hope.
Our bowling, long a strong suit, has just gotten stronger. With the return of Masri and Talha, we can rotate quick bowlers, and be reasonably hopeful, that a freak injury can be avoided this time around.
All in all, the game plan is, as always, simple. When batting, don't play loose shots, build a big innings, and finally bowl the opponent out. Implementation of these objectives will be a tough task, however in order to draw a test and/or win an ODI, these are prerequisites.
So what exactly are my predictions? Well that all depends on which Bangladesh team comes to play. Will we see the same type of team we saw in the West Indies or will it be the one we saw last month against the Kiwis? In all likelihood, India will win the tests 2-0 and the one-dayers 3-0. However, we are well capable of drawing a test and winning an ODI. A test win at this stage is out of the question as we still don't have the bowling firepower to take 20 Indian wickets within 5 days. My Hope is that the test series is drawn 0-0, and that India win the ODIs 2-1.
At this point, our players should not feel any pressure. They should go out and just play there best. No one is expecting a win. On the other hand, our cross-border neighbors need a 5 win series in order to keep their fans (and their egos) satisfied. Whether the Indians win easily or not will depend on how the Bangladesh batsmen play.