Dhaka: India's fringe players will have a chance to impress the selectors in the build-up to next year's cricket World Cup today when they begin a short one-day series tour to Bangladesh.
Suresh Raina (left) and Ajinkya Rahane have a laugh during a practice session in Dhaka on Saturday. Pic/AFP
The visitors are without eight regulars, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the prolific Virat Kohli, for the three day-night matches, which will all be played at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in the capital Dhaka and led by Suresh Raina.
'India isn't weak'
When asked whether India were weakened by the absence of its top players, Raina said: "I don't think so."
"The young Indian team is coming up. They have done well in the IPL and first-class and so you need to give a chance to youngsters as the World Cup is coming up," Raina told reporters in Dhaka on Saturday.
"It's a great platform for them to cement their places in the Indian team," he said.
Just four members of the squad — Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Wriddhiman Saha — will fly to England later in the month for a marquee tour comprising five Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20.
The series offers the likes of Pujara, who has six Test centuries but has played in just two one-dayers, a chance to stake their claims to a place in the squad for next year's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
"It is a good opportunity for all the young players who are part of this tour," Pujara, 26, said after being named for the Bangladesh series.
"Playing against Bangladesh in their home conditions won't be that easy. Bangladesh is a good team. We have a young side so it will be competitive."
For Bangladesh, it will be their first series under new coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, who has been handed a two-year contract following the recent departure of Australian Shane Jurgensen.
Hathurusinghe would be keen to start off on a winning note and turn around the fortunes of the perennial whipping boys of international cricket.
The other two matches are on June 17 and 19.
Suresh Raina's winning percentage as ODI captain. He has led India in nine ODIs