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Cricketers leave city today

Sports Reporter

May 10, 1998

National cricketers leave the capital today with a pronounced intention to avenge their defeats at the hand of Kenya when the Pepsi Cup triangular tournament beings in India from May 14.

The 14-man Bangladesh squad, led by Akram Khan, will get three days to have acclimatised to the Indian weather before featuring in the tournament opener against the hosts at Mohali. But the ICC Trophy champions get into real battle when they renew rivalry with Kenya at Hyderabad on May 17.

Bangladesh, who along with Kenya were awarded with one-day status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last June, are yet to win a single match in their previous 21 appearances in the instant version of the game.

But Kenya, who went down to Bangladesh in the ICC Trophy final in Malaysia last year, exacted a sweet revenge by comprehensively drubbing their Bangladeshi foes twice in a tri-nation tourney at Nairobi last year.

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) selectors meanwhile called up their experienced peers to strengthen the India-bound squad in a bid to put the nightmarish Kenyan experience to rest by executing fitting riposte against their African rivals.

Bangladesh coach Gordon Greenidge, who missed most of the days of a month-long training session due to illness, seemed confident about a turnaround in the dismal performance of his boys.

``We want to prove that the ICC Trophy triumph was not a one-off affair,'' said Greenidge at the floodlit Dhaka Stadium, where he was conducting the final warm-up session twenty-four hours ahead of the national team's scheduled departure for Delhi.

Greenidge, who virtually got back the same side that lifted the ICC Trophy a year ago, added: ``This is the best possible selection we've got at this moment.''

The taciturn former West Indies opener however expressed his guarded expectation while questioned about Bangladesh's hopes in the tri-nation tournament. ``I do not expect anything but the best out of my boys in the meet,'' said the Caribbean star of the yore.

On the contrary, team manager Gazi Ashraf Hossain hoped that Bangladesh would be in the middle of the Calcutta's lush Eden Gardens when the June 1 final gets underway. Each team will play twice each other in the double-leg league day-night competition from where top two finishers will qualify for the final.

``We want to play against India thrice,'' said the manager expansively, adding their main objective would be to beat the Kenyans.

A confident Ashraf, the first ever paid manager of the BCB, said, the players are physically and mentally fit enough to beat Kenya. Terming the training of minds with the help of Silva Method a timely and very useful course, Ashraf said, `` It would help the players a lot to sustain under the pressure situation.''

Skipper Akram Khan said, Bangladesh have bright chance to play in the final against the predictable top finishers India. But the portly right-hander said, `` Our success will heavily depend on how our batsmen perform.''

Meanwhile, Indian cricket board has already announced its 14-man team with Mohammad Azharuddin at the helm. But the Indian skipper will lead the side in the inaugural match against Bangladesh before leaving for Lord's to attend the meeting of ICC Test captains. After his departure, Ajay Jadeja will stand in to captain the Indian side, which will be a blend of youth and experience.

On the other hand, off-spinner Asif Karim will lead the 14-man Kenyan team.


BANGLADESH: Akram Khan (captain), Aminul Islam (vice-captain), Athar Ali Khan, Sanwar Hossain, Minhazul Abedin, Khaled Mahmud, Khaled Masud, Hasibul Hossain, Mohammad Rafique, Morshed Ali Khan, Anisur Rahman, Mehrab Hossain, Enamul Haque and Naimur Rahman

KENYA: Asif Karim (captain), Maurice Odumbe (vice-captain), Stephen Tikolo, Ravindu Shah, Lameck Onyango Nagoghe, Joseph Angara, Thomas Odoyo, Otieno Suji, Martin Suji, Alpesh Vader, Mohmmad Sheikh, Dipak Chudasama, Kaneddy Otieno and Hitesh Modi

INDIA: Mohammad Azharuddin (captain), Ajay Jadeja (vice-captain), Saurav Ganguly, Gagan Khoda, Rahul Dravid, Hrisikesh Kanitkar, NSK Prasad, Robin Singh, Sairaj Bahutule, Ajit Agarkar, Debashish Mohanty, Rahul Sanghvi, Nikhil Haldipur and Harvinder Singh

Source: The Daily Star, Bangladesh
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Date-stamped : 11 May1998 - 10:33