Tiwary ruled out of ODI series
BAI drops rebel trio
Fatehgarh Sahib chess team selected
India look to avenge World Cup defeat
Dhaka, May 9
On their first assignment in post-Greg Chappell years, the Indians have a manifold task against a team that triggered their debacle in the Caribbean and has come up leaps and bounds in recent months.
Not only they have to quickly come out of the lows of the failed World Cup campaign, they also have to prove a point to the hosts as well as the hardliners in the board who are out to clip their wings.
Bangladesh, riding high on confidence after their unexpected success in the mega event, would be no pushovers, though. If anything, they would be only too keen to prove their upset wins over the visitors and South Africa in the Super Eight were no flash in the pan.
Skipper Rahul Dravid warned his team-mates against taking the hosts lightly.
“Bangladesh have improved a lot. There are no doubts about that. They are playing very good cricket. We expect a stiffer challenge than what we got on our last visit here. And we are aware of it,” Dravid said.
Former captain Ravi Shastri, appointed as cricket manager as a stop-gap arrangement, has the unenviable task of rebuilding the team bonding that has been fractured by Chappell’s man-management.
The three-match ODI series would also be a test of the authorities’ decision to drop stars like Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
While it provides a chance for the fringe players, critics would be waiting to rip the BCCI and the selectors apart for leaving out the duo if things go wrong.
The match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium would be a test of character for the Indians as it is being played in searing heat and oppressive humidity.
Sports buffs would also be having an eye on the composition of the opening pair, with Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in the squad.
Sehwag has already been served a stern message by the selectors who dropped him for the Test series, and any further floundering could prove highly damaging to his career.
Dravid has not had that much of a success against Bangladesh managing only 133 runs in eight matches, at a below-par average of 26.60, and the absence of some of the stars puts the onus more on him to lead the side by example.
Bangladesh have their tails up after silencing their critics with a Super Eight slot in the World Cup. They finished with the wooden spoon but not before upsetting formidable South Africa.
Flamboyant willower Mohammad Ashraful and all-rounder Saqibul Hasan the two top run getters for the side in the mega event would be eager to keep the momentum going against Dravid’s boys and prove to the cricketing world that their show in the Caribbean was no flash-in-the-pan.
Ashraful, appointed vice-captain, had announced his entry into international cricket with a bang by becoming the youngest Test centurion on debut in 2001. However, inconsistency has been Ashraful’s nemesis and an average of 21.97 in the ODIs hardly does justice to his potential.
But with skipper Habibul Bashar slated to hang up his gloves after the home series against India, the dream of landing the big job could be the propelling force for the 22-year-old player.
The Indian batsmen, despite their good old reputation of being great players of spin, need to be wary of the left arm spin triumvirate in the Bangladesh line-up Saqibul, Abdur Razzak and Mohammed Rafique who captured 28 wickets between them in the Caribbean.
Statistically speaking, India have an overwhelming edge over their rivals in the win-loss record, but all of that seem to be from a bygone era after Banlgadesh's superb show in the World Cup.
Teams (from): India: Rahul Dravid (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar, S. Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh.
Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar (capt), Mohammad Ashraful (vice-capt), Javed Omar, Tamim Iqbal, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Saqibul Hasan, Musfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Syed Russel, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Rafique and Farhad Reza. — PTI
Chance to redeem pride
Who would have thought in their wildest imagination that India’s tour to Bangladesh would ever be as important as this one is? But, after the World Cup disaster where the loss to Bangladesh effectively ruled out any future progress for the Indian team, this tour assumes significance, as it not only provides the Indian team the opportunity to get back at the Bangladeshis, but in the process show that they have the mental fortitude to recover from an unexpected setback.
Absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly from the one-day squad means that India’s top-order will have a different look to it. Gautam Gambhir and Dinesh Mongia get another chance to redeem themselves, as also Robin Uthappa. It will be a close call between Gambhir and Uthappa as to who throws his wicket away to casual shots, and hopefully both will realise that with Ravi Shastri as the manager, they may not exactly be welcome in the dressing room if they do that.
The experience of Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh should bolster the middle order, and if Virender Sehwag finds the key to unlock himself, then Bangladesh could be in for a leather hunt.
India is well served in the batting and it’s the new ball attack that will be the headache for the tour selectors. On those bald, flat pitches, the white ball will get softer sooner than later, and that will mean the bowlers will have to be extremely accurate if they are to succeed in stopping the runs.
At this stage, it looks like Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel will take the new ball and the choice of the third seamer could well be between Sreesanth, who has struggled to get his length adjusted to the requirements of the one-day game, and the deceptive pace and swing of R.P. Singh.
Ramesh Powar will definitely play the first game and India will use Sehwag, Yuvraj and Mongia with his modified action as the fifth bowler. Picking Piyush Chawla for the one-dayers makes little sense, as he will perforce have to cut down his flight in this form of cricket, and half his effectiveness will go with that. Leg-spinners are best utilised in the longer format of the game, where they can always come back for another spell and can be effective on the third, fourth and fifth day of a Test.
Bangladesh will want to show that their win over India in the World Cup was no fluke and that they are now a team that believes in itself. Their newer, younger players are not awestruck anymore and that makes a huge difference in their approach to the game.
The likeable Habibul Bashar is the captain, and unless he starts putting runs on the board, he may well find his place in danger. Bangladesh need a ruthless skipper at the helm. Someone who is not afraid to speak his mind to the team and tell the opposition where to get off.
With the mercurial but unpredictable Ashraful as his deputy, the Bangladesh Cricket Board may well have indicated who is going to be the next captain, but again for him to have the respect of his side, he has to get runs more consistently than he does now. — PMG
Dhaka, May 9
The Bengal player, who suffered the injury during practice yesterday, is likely to fly back home but the team management was not looking for a replacement.
“He possibly won’t be available for the ODI series,” captain Rahul Dravid said on the eve of first of three one-dayers against Bangladesh. — PTI
Azlan Shah Cup
Ipoh, May 9
In the semifinals, to be played on Friday, India will meet Malaysia while Australia take on Korea.
The Indian victory resulted in a three-way tie with Australia, India and Argentina all with six points apiece. However, Argentina were eliminated on inferior goal-difference with Australia taking the top spot and India coming second.
The Indians, needing a win to qualify, left it almost too late as they found the Argentine defence a tough nut to crack. Try as they did, a goal eluded them until the last five minutes when they scored twice.
Given the domination they enjoyed, the Indians should have run up a bigger win, but the Argentine defence too deserved credit for their solid performance before the ceaseless pressure told on their players.
In the first-half, the Indians did all the running, wove all the pretty patterns and had more of scoring opportunities, but the Argentine defenders did not put a foot wrong, literally.
There was fluency and rhythm in the Indian moves that purred like a well-oiled machine. However, the final passing bouts and positional play of the forwards left a lot to be desired.
Argentina, requiring just a draw, preferred to fall back on the ropes, as it were, and absorb the punches like a heavyweight boxer. They did it with aplomb and a measure of confidence that ironically, the Indian defenders did not show on the rare occasions they were under pressure.
It was to India’s good fortune that Pedro’s drag-flick from the second penalty corner struck the upright and rebounded into play and off the counter-attack that flowed from there, Sardara Singh put Roshan Minz in possession. But Minz drove wide to second angle to waste India’s best scoring chance.
Coach Joaquim Carvalho switched players in an attempt to sustain the tempo. To an extent, the substitutions ensured that there were always fresh legs up front, but then, with Argentina defending in numbers, the Indian forwards found themselves in a maze that took them around in circles and nowhere near the target.
The early minutes of the second-half saw Argentina showing rare urgency, but soon the game fell into the familiar pattern with the Indians dominating. Twice in the first 10 minutes the Indians nearly scored. Chikkara failed to deflect a Saradara free-hit and then Minz, after dodging past the goalkeeper, saw his hit looping over the net off a defenders stick.
Almost immediately, the Indians received their first penalty corner, but their specialist drag-flicker Ramachandra Raghunath was on the bench and Harpal Singh’s tentative direct hit was ineffective.
Raghunath was soon brought on, but he left within minutes with a yellow card suspension, his second in as many matches, for bringing down an Argentine player.
As the clock ticked to full time, India grew in desperation as the well-organised Argentine defence that had read the Indian game rather too well, gave nothing away.
To India’s credit, they kept chipping away the Argentine wall and finally blew a hole in the 67th minute when Minz broke through from the right, passed to Tushar Khandekar whose square pass was neatly swept in by Chikkara.
The Indians then stepped on the throttle and about a minute left, scored their second goal as Khandekar found the boards from a Minz pass to deliver the knockout punch.
Australia hammer China 7-2
Olympic champions Australia, playing a slick and fast game, hammered China 7-2 to qualify for the semifinals in the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament, here today. Australia finished their Group A campaign with six points. Leading the Australian goal glut was Grant Schubert, playing in his 100th international, with a tally of three (38th, 50th, 63rd) while Russell Ford chipped in with two (17th, 46th). Rounding off their scoring were Matthew Naylor (20th) and Brent Livermore (penalty stroke, 25th).
Olympic champions Australia, playing a slick and fast game, hammered China 7-2 to qualify for the semifinals in the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament, here today.
Australia finished their Group A campaign with six points.
Leading the Australian goal glut was Grant Schubert, playing in his 100th international, with a tally of three (38th, 50th, 63rd) while Russell Ford chipped in with two (17th, 46th). Rounding off their scoring were Matthew Naylor (20th) and Brent Livermore (penalty stroke, 25th).
Korea outplay Pak
Asian champions Korea swept to a 4-2 win against Pakistan and joined hosts Malaysia in the semifinals of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament here today. Korea completed their group B league engagements with six points and finished second behind Malaysia (7). Pakistan, bronze medallists at the 2006 Asian Games, were placed third with four points, while winless Canada came in last. Today’s match was continuation of Monday’s tie that was abandoned after 27 minutes of the first-half following a power failure with the teams tied 2-2. Thursdays fixtures (IST): 5-8 classification: Argentina vs Canada (3.35 pm); Pakistan vs China (5.35 pm). — PTI
Asian champions Korea swept to a 4-2 win against Pakistan and joined hosts Malaysia in the semifinals of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament here today.
Korea completed their group B league engagements with six points and finished second behind Malaysia (7). Pakistan, bronze medallists at the 2006 Asian Games, were placed third with four points, while winless Canada came in last. Today’s match was continuation of Monday’s tie that was abandoned after 27 minutes of the first-half following a power failure with the teams tied 2-2.
Thursdays fixtures (IST): 5-8 classification: Argentina vs Canada (3.35 pm); Pakistan vs China (5.35 pm). — PTI
Mumbai, May 9
After more than a week of feud between the shuttlers and the establishment, which created a furore, the BAI selection committee met here today and decided to crack the whip on the trio for not attending the ongoing camp in Hyderabad and also not showing up for the selection trials.
“They were invited to the national camp that commenced on April 24 and also an opportunity was given to them to participate in the trials in Hyderabad (May 6-8) but they failed to report,” BAI said in a release.
Without its top-ranked singles player and top women’s doubles duo, India will field an under-strength side for the World Team championship in Glasgow, Scotland, from June 10-17.
Promising youngster P. Kashyap was given a chance in place of Anand while Ashwin Ponappa and Nitya Sosale will replace Jwala and Shruti. The BAI will have a national selection camp from August 1-10 for the World Championship and a camp of seven days from August 28 before the India Open.
Participation in these two camps will be mandatory. After the Sudirman Cup, 12 players will be sponsored by BAI to join the National training centre in Malaysia run by Misbun.
Team: men: Anup Sridhar, P Kashyap, Rupesh Kumar, Sanave Thomas (doubles) and V. Diju (mixed doubles); women: Saina Nehwal (singles), Aditi Mutatkar (singles), Ashwini Poonappa, Aparna Balan and Nitya Sosale. — PTI
Fatehgarh Sahib chess team selected Fatehgarh Sahib, May 9 Varinder Kumar Puri has been named the captain. The other players are Imran, Pankaj Bawa, Rajeev Singh Dhanoya, Gagandeep Singh, Arun Bamotra, Shabeg Singh, Chandan Sharma, Ravi Verma and Gagandeep Takkar. Professor Bikramjit Singh Sandhu, general secretary of the association informed that these players would participate at the state-level tournament to be conducted by the Punjab State Chess Association at Mamta Niketan Residential Institute, Tarn Tarn, from May 10 to May 13.
Fatehgarh Sahib, May 9
Varinder Kumar Puri has been named the captain. The other players are Imran, Pankaj Bawa, Rajeev Singh Dhanoya, Gagandeep Singh, Arun Bamotra, Shabeg Singh, Chandan Sharma, Ravi Verma and Gagandeep Takkar.
Professor Bikramjit Singh Sandhu, general secretary of the association informed that these players would participate at the state-level tournament to be conducted by the Punjab State Chess Association at Mamta Niketan Residential Institute, Tarn Tarn, from May 10 to May 13.
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