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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bangladesh, India, Pakistan: Bangladesh Tri Series 2008 Schedule

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Bangladesh, India, Pakistan: Bangladesh Tri Series 2008 Schedule

Bangladesh Tri Series 2008 is the upcoming ODI cricket tournament in the cricket world. At this moment, two test series are going on in world cricket. So, cricket fans are interested to this tri series involving host Bangladesh, and two Asian cricket powers: India and Pakistan. It is a short tournament based on seven days of action. All the three participants play against each other once in the group stage in a round robin league system. The top two teams in terms of points achieved will meet in the final on 14th June 2008. Bangladesh Tri Series 2008 may not be a significant tournament in the cricket world, but all the three teams will take it seriously ahead of Asia Cup 2008, due to start from 24 June. So, all the teams will try to find out the weakness of their sides and work out the problems before Asia Cup 2008 kicks off. So, it is believed that the participating teams will look to find out the best team combination for Asia Cup in this tournament.

Cricket fans will miss some of the star cricketers of the tree teams in this tournament. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly are not in the Indian squad, while Pakistan misses out its leading pacer Mohammad Asif, who has been detained at the Dubai International Airport since last Sunday due to allegedly bearing a banned substance. You already know that another star pacer of Pakistan, Shoaib Akhtar is not in the squad. So, Pakistan pace attack seems to be a bit less strength. There is bad news for host fans too as star batsman Aftab Ahmed has been ruled of the upcoming tri series and Asia Cup 2008 with a fractured finger. The batsmen picked up with a finger injury during a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur. So, it will definitely lessen the strength of Bangladesh batting line up.

However, still cricket fans are now interested about this tournament as they want to be back to ODI cricket again, after the IPL extravaganza finished off recently. Here, I am giving the schedule of Bangladesh Tri Series 2008 ODI tournament:

Stage

Date

Competing Teams

Venue

Time

Group Stage

8 June 2008

Sunday

Bangladesh vs Pakistan

Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur

15:00 Local

09:00 GMT

10 June 2008

Tuesday

India vs Pakistan

Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur

15:00 Local

09:00 GMT

12 June 2008

Thursday

Bangladesh vs India

Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur

15:00 Local

09:00 GMT

Final

14 June 2008

Saturday

TBC vs TBC

Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur

15:00 Local

09:00 GMT














** All the matches are day/night, and for each of the matches, there is a reserve day on the following day of the matches.

Bangladesh, India and Pakistan did not play any ODI tournament for a long time. For the last one and half months, Indian players were busy with playing in IPL. There are two new faces in the 15-member ODI side of India: Yusuf Pathan and Pragyan Ojha. Though this is the first call up for Pragyan Ojha in the national side, Yusuf Pathan was in the world cup winning Twenty20 squad of India. Both the players impressed with their performances in the recently concluded Indian Premier League. Another star of IPL, Gautam Gambhir is also included in the Indian squad. In the absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, it is now pretty sure that Gautam Gambhir will open for India in the tri nation series in Bangladesh. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are expected to open for India. Besides, Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and vice captian Yuvraj Singh, there are a number of in from middle order batsmen who deserve a place in the starting line up. Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan are some of the best middle order batsmen in the country and all of them have the ability of big hitting whenever needed.

However, I think, India lacks a specialist off spinner in the squad, because I do not think that Yusuf Pathan is reliable enough to carry on the task of an off spinner. Harbhajan Singh could have been selected to serve as an off spinner. However, the inclusion of leg spinner Piyush Chawla and left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha brings a good variation in its spin attack. For pace attack, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar are the available options for India to pick. Considering the condition of Bangladesh, India might play two pacers along with bowling all rounder. Ishant Sharma is in good form and I think, he should open for India during the tournament, while either RP Singh or Sreesanth could be the second choice pacer for India and either Irfan Pathan or Praveen Kumar might play as a bowling all rounder. I think, India has a balanced squad.

For Pakistan, I think, the absence of Muhammad Asif would decrease their bowling strength. However, Sohail Tanvir, who is the highest wicket taker of the recently concluded IPL tournament, and Umar Gul will spearhead Pakistan bowling line up. Rao Iftikhar is most likely to come in the starting line up as a third pacer. Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed are expected to open in the batting line up, while Younus Khan, Mohammad Yousaf, Captain Shoaib Malik and Vice Captain Misbah-ul-Haq would come in the middle order. In form wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal has regained his form in IPL and I think, he could be an effective opener for Pakistan. Shahid Afridi could play as an all rounder with his ability of leg spin bowling. Shoaib Malik will lead their spin attack, while leg spinner Fawad Alam could make an impression in the tournament with his leg break bowling as well as his batting.

You know that the main problem of Bangladesh is lack of consistency. They have a bunch of talented cricketers, but most of the time they are underperformed. Led by star batsman Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh will look to cause at last an upset in the tournament. Bangladesh did not play well in their last ODI series in Pakistan, being white washed in the series. Their left arm spin attack spearheaded by Abdur Razzak could be lethal for the opposition team in the home condition of Bangladesh. Shakib Al Hasan is a skilled all rounder, while vice captain Mashrafe Mortaza would lead the pace attack and his hard hitting batting down the order could also help Bangladesh to build a winning total. All rounder Mahmudullah could bring a variation in their spin attack with his off spin bowling. Farhad Reza is also a pacer all rounder who effective with his hard hitting in the middle order. Dolar Mahmud is the new face in the Bangladesh batting line up. Junaid Siddique, Shahriar Nafees and Tamim Iqbal are the probable opening options for Bangladesh batting line up and in the absence of Aftab Ahmed, Nazimuddin might come in the one down position. Shahadat Hossain could be Mashrafe Mortaza’s pace partner in the tournament. Actually, Bangladesh team seems to be very young and there are a number of inexperienced cricketers in the squad. I think, this is a weak side of the host team.

It is a very good initiative taken by the organizers that there will be a reserve day after each of the four matches of the tournament, because it is the time of rain in Bangladesh and almost everyday it is raining in Dhaka. So, rain could be a problem for the tournament, but still, keeping a reserve day reduces the possibility of the matches being washed out due to rain. Now, let us see if the three teams can present an interesting tournament.

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