Time to put Caribbean nightmare behind

Time to put Caribbean nightmare behind

Time to put Caribbean nightmare behind

India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar , center, and his teammates during practice session in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday. AP

It is Saturday, again. Will history repeat itself at the Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium in Dhaka as India takes on Bangladesh in the ICC World Cup opener? It is precisely why a “routine” outing for India has generated some excitement for cricket fans. It doesn’t really matter much that Dhoni’s Team India are considered to be a hot contender to lift the Cup. After all, in 2007, Rahul Dravid’s men too were projected to be front-runners.
All it took for the strong favourites to be reduced to also-rans was their first day of cricket in that competition.

If under Sakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh side hope to repeat their 2007 show before the home crowd, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men walk out Saturday afternoon to erase from their memory the Caribbean nightmare. 

Much water has flowed under the bridge between March 2007 and now. For one thing, India have beaten Bangladesh seven times on the trot since; for another, they have shown greater steel and heart in recent times, responding admirably to the management group of Dhoni and Gary Kirsten.

It isn’t by sheer chance that India have risen to number two in the ICC one-day rankings. Over the last couple of years, they have performed consistently well in all parts of the world, oftentimes without several key players who have either been injured or rested.
In normal course, the Saturday encounter ought to be a routine outing for the Indians, who have won 20 and lost just two of their 22 matches against their hosts for the day. The World Cup, however, is a big stage, and the pressures of the occasion can force even the most mature, experienced individuals to commit the most basic, elementary mistakes.

What makes Bangladesh particularly tricky opponents, apart from the fact that they are reasonably skilled and that they are playing in their own backyard, is that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Few outside of the Bangladesh team - and its entire cricket-mad following that can give the Indian fan a run for his money - believe Bangladesh have the firepower to stun India again, which means all the pressure will be on Dhoni’s team and Shakib Al Hasan’s boys can use that to their advantage.