DAMBULLA: MS Dhoni’s India have a chance to start with a win when they take on Bangladesh in their first Asia Cup match on Wednesday. With a spate of recent mediocre performances behind them, the team will be hoping to turn the tide and get their act together ahead of some key contests that follow.
This is a brief tournament and India have just three matches to make a mark. Bangladesh offer the perfect opportunity to notch up a victory, but Dhoni’s men cannot afford to underestimate the Bangladeshis. India will have to get down to serious business from the word go.
Seven members of India’s playing XI have joined the team straight from the series in Zimbabwe, and must surely be fatigued. Those rested from the Zimbabwe sojourn are likely to be rusty. Also, India have always struggled to adjust to conditions in Lanka. The younger members of the squad, like Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashok Dinda and R Ashwin must cope with such pressures.
Playing the game is only a part of the job profile: coping with stress and performing regardless of rest or playing conditions is what sets seasoned professionals apart. The boys in blue, fatigued as they may be, should seek inspiration in the picturesque vistas, the lush mountains and tranquil lakes of Dambulla. For, as skipper Dhoni says, “You are always under pressure when you’re playing for India.”
The Indians, as a unit, will be missing the steadying presence of Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh. This may heighten the pressure on the top, specially Dhoni and deputy Sehwag.