|Banglas not to be taken lightly|
|by Gulu Ezekiel|
|Mar 16, 2007|
So finally, D-Day is upon us. After monthsmore than a
year, reallyof speculation, gossip, rumours, hopes
and heartbreaks, India finally begin their campaign in
the 9th World Cup at Port of Spain on Saturday.
Group B is the only one with three full-fledged Test
playing nations (Zimbabwe is currently barred from
Test cricket) and has been dubbed the group of
In my opinion however Kenya look the best of the
minor nations and that makes Group C (also including
Canada, England and New Zealand) the toughest.
Still, Bangladesh can take a lot of credit from their
narrow win over New Zealand in the warm-up match. And
they are the only minnow side to have scalped three
world champions (Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and
Neither India nor Sri Lanka can afford to have an off
day when they face Bangladesh. Bermuda can be
instantly discounted. They appear the weakest side in
The Banglas on their other hand will go into the match
with all guns blazing as they did on that amazing day
at Cardiff against the reigning world champions back
in 2005. After all, what have they got to lose? The
pressure thus is all on India. But surely they have it
in them to come through the opening match with flying
It is interesting that New Zealand went into their
first match against England on Friday with two
specialist spinners in Daniel Vettori and Jeetan
The Queens Park Oval pitch has traditionally favoured
spin and this might persuade the Indian think-tank to
go in with both Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh with
Yuvraj, Tendulkar and Sehwag providing the back-up
spin. That would mean there probably would be no place
in the playing XI for Irfan Pathan.
The opening conundrum is still hanging over the side.
Indications are Saurav Ganguly and Robin Uthappa will
be in at the top of the order.
Since the tournament is being played in nine different
nations with different soil textures and weather
conditions, it is impossible to make a generalization
at this stage as to which way the pitches will play.
With three Asian nations all part of Group B and based
in Port of Spain, they should all feel quite at home
with both the crowds and the local conditions.
The first few days of matches has certainly shown us
some fascinating cricket and a few world records
already to boot.
But for India and her countless fans at least, the
World Cup begins on Saturday. Its about time!