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Suresh Raina and his boys slipped out almost unnoticed from Kolkata, without even a pre-departure press conference, for the ODI series in Bangladesh starting Sunday. When was the last time that happened to an Indian cricket team?
In Bangladesh too, where Mirpur’s 25,000 capacity Sher-e-Bangla Stadium will host the three matches, there are few takers for tickets, though prices begin from a relatively low 100 BDT (Bangladesh Takas), or Rs 77. Much like Kolkata, Dhaka is divided between Brazil and Argentina. Cricket doesn’t figure in the list of priorities here either.
For the Indians, this is a welcome change. Raina and company will try to make the most of the opportunities for the reserves to come out of the spotlight. Raina, left out of the Asia Cup squad, returns as captain, fresh from his smash-and-grab knock (87, 25 balls) in the IPL play-off against Punjab. Robin Uthappa and Manoj Tiwary return to the India fold. Cheteshwar Pujara may figure as an opener, which will push Ajinkya Rahane down to No. 4.
Kedar Jadhav, one of three uncapped players with Akshar Patel and Parvez Rasool, with a reputation of being a big-hitter might have the edge over Stuart Binny. Among the bowlers, 20-year-old Patel had the best economy rate (6.13) for a bowler with five or more matches in IPL 7.