Big test for reserves

Big test for reserves

The Indian cricket team will get an opportunity to test its bench strength wh­en its fringe players led by Suresh Raina square off against Bangladesh in a sho­rt three-match ODI series starting here on Saturday.

The decision by the BCCI to rest seven key players including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, his deputy Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja provides the likes of Robin Uthappa, Manoj Tiwary, Parvez Rasool and Akshar Patel a chance to showcase their skills against a Bangladesh side led by Mushfiqur Rahim.

However, the absence of Dhoni and Co has definitely taken the sheen off the series which incidentally has also coincided with the FIFA World Cup making it even more inconsequential from a viewers’ perspective.

Such has been the lack of interest, that none of the top Indian broadcasters committed to air the series live in India till the last minute.

The stakes will, however, be high for the Indian reserves, most of whom would see this opportunity as God-send.

With barely eight months left for the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, a few places are still up for grabs which will keep some of the members of this team interested.

For Raina, who had another good IPL, it will be a comeback of sorts having been dropped from the ODI squad during Asia Cup.

He would be itching to get into the thick of things with some substantial knocks.

The centre of attention will be Karnataka batsman Robin Uthappa making a comeback into the side after six years in the wake of a stupendous IPL, where he won the coveted ‘Orange Cap’ by virtue of being the highest run-getter.

A couple of good scores will certainly put Shikhar Dhawan under pressure before the selectors announce the ODI squad for England in August.

It will be a three-way tussle between Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu for the two slots in the middle-order as wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha is certain to take the No 7 slot.

The two pace-bowling slots will go to Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma as the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium wicket will warrant playing two spinners.

Senior leg-spinner Amit Mishra will be keen to prove the selectors wrong. The second spinner’s slot will be a toss-up between Akshar Patel and Jammu and Kashmir’s Rasool.

Teams (from): India: Suresh Raina (captain), Robin Uthappa, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Akshar Patel, Amit Mishra, Mohit Sharma, Umesh R Vinay Kumar, Parveez Rasool, Stuart Binny.

Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Tam­im Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah, Mithun Ali, Abdur Razzak, Masrafe Mortaza, Shohag Gazi, Ziaur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed.

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