After IPL, Indians get ready for serious cricket

June 9th, 2008 - 7:45 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh

Dhaka, June 9 (IANS) It’s monsoon time here and the rain is bound to interfere with the tri-nation cricket series as it did Sunday when the game between Pakistan and Bangladesh was reduced to 40 over a side. There could be a cloud cover over the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur Tuesday ,too, when India play Pakistan. The Indians should feel the Indian Premier League (IPL) hang-over the most compared to the other two teams and it is to be seen how quickly they could switch their focus to a relatively serious brand of cricket.

The IPL has thrown up many young cricketers and the national selectors were quick to seize the opportunity to pick some of them for the series here. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a major say in the selection and he has yet again plumped for young men and fresh legs as he had done for the ODI series against the Australians in the winter.

The selection of players like pacer Manpreet Gony and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha is a clear indication that the captain and the selectors are looking ahead and are in no mood to recall any senior whatever be his past record.

In the absence of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who is serving a five-match ban for slapping Santhakumaran Sreesanth during an IPL match at Mohali, Dhoni may opt for two spinners on the spinning track at Mirpur after seeing Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi gain prodigious turn. It will be a toss up between Piyush Chawla and Ojha with Yusuf Pathan joining his brother Irfan in the eleven as all-rounders.

Dhoni may go in for six batsmen and five bowlers. Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma filling the three middle-order batting slots with Dhoni following them at No. 6. In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar, who pulled out due to a groin injury, senior bastmen Sehwag, Yuvraj and Dhoni should shoulder the burden of getting big runs.

Pakistan should have no selection worries after their easy victory over Bangladesh. They would like Sohail Tanvir, the top wicket-taker in the IPL playing for champions Rajasthan Royals, to be at his best against India. He was expensive in the first game, though another IPL bowler Umar Gul and new pace bowler Wahab Riaz had a good game Sunday night.

Afridi, who had a disastrous IPL for the Deccan Chargers, said that the lean patch with bat was bothering him and that he would have to spend more time at the crease to come good. He, however, has a good record against the Indians on the subcontinental pitches.

The two squads:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain/wicketkeeper), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Manpreet Gony, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha.

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (captain), Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal (wicketkeeper), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Nasir Jamshed, Rao Iftikhar, Sohail Khan, Bazid Khan, Naumanullah

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