There isn't much hype over India's tour of Bangladesh, which is all set to begin in Dhaka. There are more than one reasons for the same. Firstly, India-Bangladesh games have never generated much excitement, primarily because of the one-sided nature of the contest. This time however, there will be even less attention paid to the event with the tournament coinciding with the first week of the football spectacle, the FIFA World Cup. While one one hand, India would be pleased to stay out of the limelight for once, they must ensure they do not take things lightly, else they could end up slipping badly.
One of the reasons, Bangladesh would be confident of putting up a good show, apart from the obvious fact that they would be playing at home, is because India are sending a highly weakened side to the event, a second-string side if you want to call it -- a clear sign that the series doesn't mean much to them. Alternately, it can also be seen as an attempt to give the youngsters a chance to make an impression at the international level, even if it against a weak side like Bangladesh. In that sense, there wouldn't be much riding on Indian cricket as far as the series is concerned, a lot of players, some youngsters, and a few others making their comeback, would be under pressure to perform.
Suresh Raina seems to have turned into a specialist when it comes to leading against weak sides like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. And while the series wouldn't tell us a lot about his leadership skills, it is important that he delivers with the bat, else his standing in Indian cricket would fall further. The series would also be critical for Robin Uthappa, who has earned his much-deserved comeback on the basis of some superb domestic and IPL performances. It is imperative that Uthappa grabs his chances though for he is not getting any younger.
Among the others who would be keen to make an impression include Gujarat all-rounded Akshar Patel, who has stood out particularly with his nagging left-arm spinners both in the Ranji Trophy as well as in IPL 7. He has all the makings of a good all-rounder, and starting off against a low-profile side should aid him. Another spinner, Parvez Rasool from J & K has so far been a traveller in international cricket, and should get opportunities to display his skills. The team has numerous players who have represented India intermittently, but have failed to establish themselves. The list includes Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary and Umesh Yadav. The latter, in particular, would be keen to make a mark having been overlooked for the Tests in England.
In many ways, the Bangladesh tour is a no-win situation for India. If they triumph, it would be the expected result, but if they falter the backlash would be immense. India would be glad if they return from the tour unscathed.
--By A Cricket Analyst