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India's England-tour applicants tested in Bangladesh


Jaspreet Sahni,Cricketnext
Jun 20, 2014 at 02:04pm IST

India's ODI tour of Bangladesh drew little attention until the Mirpur pitch decided to misbehave and become cause of embarrassment on either side of the border. Bangladesh remained winless and India came close to sharing the trophy before the hosts' strategy boomeranged.

The trivial three-match series threw up more reasons for the minnows to introspect, while the world champions inked do's and don'ts for England tour after two meek surrenders (105 and 119/9).

ALSO SEE Binny's 6/4 highlight of the tour

Mirpur turned into an English simulator under overcast skies, which didn't hesitate to open and spice the pitch up. That provided BCCI selectors the ideal opportunity to test the England ODI-tour applicants.

India's England-tour applicants tested in Bangladesh

Ambati Rayudu failed to impress on the Bangladesh tour. (AFP)

Batting:

Robin Uthappa's return after a six-year hiatus began with a half-century but as the skies turned from blue to grey in the next two ODIs, his bat failed to acclimatize producing scores of 4 and 5. And with Gambhir returning to India's Test squad and also leading from the front in Kolkata Knight Riders' IPL-7 triumph, it's quite likely that he will also be drafted into the ODI squad as the third opener, especially after Uthappa failed to impress when conditions favoured bowlers.

Uthappa's opening partner Ajinkya Rahane's story-line was similar with knocks of 64, 0 and 3. But he has been part of the Indian set-up for some time now and paid back the selectors' faith with his maiden Test century in New Zealand. That helped him retain his place in the Test squad for England, and it won't be a surprise if he is selected for ODIs too, not as an opener but as a middle-order batsman.

The tour was a chance for Cheteshwar Pujara to graduate his List-A skills into ODIs, but he too failed to hit the straps with just 38 runs to his name - beginning the tour with a 0 and following it up with 11 and 27. That leaves his chances for the limited-overs leg of the England tour in the balance.

Another batting hope that continues to disappoint is Ambati Rayudu. He has failed to make use of the chances he has got in the past 12 months and Bangladesh turned out no different with his three innings reading 16, 1, 1.

Skipper for the tour and a question mark against short-pitched bowling on responsive tracks, Suresh Raina too didn't do much good to his hopes of getting an England ticket. After beginning the tour with 15 not out, Raina failed to make his experience count when India were in dire straits during the second and third ODIs. He got starts in both the games with scores of 27 and 25 but failed to kick on and get the other batsmen rally around him.

BOWLING:

Unlike the batsmen, Indian bowlers got only two opportunities in Bangladesh as the third ODI was washed out without the Indian innings being completed. Stuart Binny was unquestionably the biggest gainer in those two stints.

His record-breaking spell of 6 for 4 in the second ODI, the best by an Indian in ODIs, was the highlight of the tour. He decimated Bangladesh in just 4.4 overs to lead India's defence of a paltry 105, their lowest score against Bangladesh, and bowl the hosts out for an embarrassing 58.

Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma, who shared the new ball, also impressed with a good performance each. Yadav was the pick of the Indian bowlers in the first ODI with figures of 3 for 48, while Mohit partnered Binny in Bangladesh's annihilation in the second with a spell of 4 for 22.

Both Yadav and Mohit are not part of the Test squad for England, but have sent a timely reminder to hop onto the ODI flight.

The overcast conditions didn't help the chances of Indian spinners to impress as pacers hogged the limelight in seaming conditions under angry clouds.

Amit Mishra was overlooked for England Tests and began well with a spell of 2 for 52 in the first ODI at Mirpur. But after not being required to bowl in the second game, he was dropped for the inconsequential third match.

The debutants

Parvez Rasool and IPL-7 hero Akshar Patel uncorked their international careers on this tour, but failed to leave an impression.

Rasool was unlucky to be dropped after becoming the first J&K cricketer to represent India, while Kings XI Punjab's IPL-7 hero Patel was persisted with. However, the Gujarat allrounder didn't justify Raina's decision. Though he was required to bowl in just first of the three ODIs, scores of 8 and 1 with the bat was cause of disappointment as much is expected of his promising batting skills.

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