Sample the following pearlers from the people who are supposed to know something about something:
Mohammad Ashraful: "But they [India] could find themselves stretched here," - rubbish!
Sidharth Monga: "The one-day team flies to Dhaka on Monday to play what is expected to be the most evenly contested series between Bangladesh and a Test-playing nation other than Zimbabwe," - rubbish!
Mohammad Ashraful, again: "Definitely, the absence of Tendulkar and Ganguly is a massive handicap for them as those two can win matches on their own. But we should concentrate on our game," - good thinking, son.
Sure, Bangladesh beat India quite convincingly at that bloated and farcical tournament they remain hell-bent on calling "The World Cup". Ditto for South Africa. But who are we kidding here?
As much as Monga and his like would like to make us believe, Indian expectations from this series should be no different to what they would have been had Rahul Dravid's team undertaken this tour just after thrashing Sri Lanka, earlier this year. For all the sensationalism associated with labeling this "the most evenly contested series between Bangladesh and a Test-playing nation", this is nothing but a chance for you Indian players to lock away some easy (despicably so, at times) runs before the real examinations begin against the big boys.
The likes of Manoj Tiwary, Ramesh Powar & Piyush Chawla should be looking to make a point for themselves, not extracting revenge for an unfortunate slip-up. With all due respect to Habibul Bashar and his charges, they should be fully prepared for normal service to resume and to be beaten comprehensively in each and every game.
The heat is not a factor (the Indians don't come from New Zealand). The bowling will be hungrier in the absence of the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar, it is potent enough to deny the Bangladeshi batsmen any free points. Harbhajan, in particular, needs to play domestic cricket again and re-learn what he used to like about playing cricket.
Even with Tendulkar enjoying some well deserved family time, the batting is more than capable. Abdur Razzak is not exactly a Shaun Tait and for all the talent of the Bangladeshi spin triplet, the Indians would prefer them to, even, Nathan Hauritz.
So ladies and gents, can we please cut the crap and call a spade for the simple gardening tool that it is. I understand some desperate men have newspapers to sell and commercial websites on which to sell ads, but those of us without ulterior motives well understand that Team India will win this series in Bangladesh - quite comfortably.
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