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India begin World Twenty20 title defence against Bangladesh


Nottingham : India will be wary of sticky customers Bangladesh when they begin their title defence in the World Twenty20 at Trent Bridge here Saturday.

India are strong favourites to retain the trophy, but they would be aware that any

slip-up can spoil the party. This is something Bangladesh did in the ODI World Cup when they beat India in the legaue stage. India were eventually knocked out of the championship in the Caribbean in 2008.

This Indian team, however, is a more confident lot and are backed by tremendous success at the international level in all forms of the game in the last 12 months. They are also battle-hardened with the just-concluded Indian Premier League in South Africa.

Two years back, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s boys entered the inaugural edition as underdogs and went on to script history by winning the title. It created a sensation in the cricket crazy country and Dhoni’s team found a place alongside Kapil’s Devils for bringing a world title home after 24 years.

The same bunch, except for a few changes, has now gained more experience and are better equipped to handle pressure.

Also, Dhoni’s shrewd leadership abilities came to the fore in South Africa in 2007. Since then, he has successfuly led the side in all the three formats.

India would be sorely missing two of their frontline players, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, who are both fighting injuries and likely to sit out Saturday.

“I am not sure about Viru (Sehwag) and even though Zaheer has started bowling, it may be too early to risk him,” Dhoni said.

The IPL, however, has given more options to Dhoni besides helping players like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and R.P. Singh peak at the right time.

Rohit is almost certain to open the batting with Gautam Gambhir in Sehwag’s absence. The right-hander stood to the test of his captain when he mauled Pakistan with a fiery 80 off 53 balls to lead India to an emphatic nine-wicket victory in the warm-up match.

The strong middle-order has Yuvraj Singh and skipper Dhoni while Yusuf Pathan can clobber any attack at any stage of the game.

The Pathan brothers – Yusuf and Irfan – give more options to Dhoni in both the batting and bowling departments.

Yusuf did a good job with his off-spinners while opening the bowling for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.

RP, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Irfan will share the pace workload while

experienced Harbhajan Singh and impressive Pragyan Ojha will be the main spinners.

RP showed good form in the IPL and emrged as the top wicket-taker. Both Harbhajan and Ojha, too, were in the thick of things in IPL.

Bangladesh lost to Australia and Sri Lanka in practice matches this week, but they put up a fighting display in both games.

“We need to play to our potential and if we do that, we can surprise a lot of teams,” said captain Mohammad Ashraful.

Bangladesh would take confidence from their show at the inaugural World Twenty20 where they scored surprise wins over the West Indies and reached the Super Eights.

The team will count of all-rounder Shakib-al Hasan, explosive opener Tamim Iqbal and pacer Masrafe Mortaza to come good.


India – Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, Ishant Sharma, R.P Singh.

Bangaldesh – Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Zunaed Siddique, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mushfiqur Rahim, Roqibul Hasan, Shahadat Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Abdur Razzak, Mahmudullah, Mithun Ali, Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shamsur Rahman, Syed Rasel.