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May 29, 2014
Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has said he didn't expect such a weakened Indian side for the upcoming three-match ODI series. The visitors announced a 15-man squad without eight of their regulars - captain MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are among those not making this trip.
Mushfiqur said he was not upset at the quality of his opposition but felt that, by playing better cricket, his side can deliver a message to the powers that be. Despite the make-up of the squad, they will not be playing for "India A" but for India, he said.
The team will be led by Suresh Raina, who was not part of India's last ODI assignment, and only four members of this squad -- Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Wriddhiman Saha -- will be flying to England to join the Test team.
"I didn't expect them to take this series so lightly," Mushfiqur told reporters in Mirpur. "We have a chance to give a reply on the field. There is extra motivation. They haven't invited us yet so if we do well in this series, it sends a message.
"We have defeated their best team in the past. They have a young team, and despite the standard of the IPL, international cricket is a more difficult stage. And one should not forget that if they lose, India will lose, not India A. The pressure will be on them. I know most of them, and have seen them play. Even though I haven't played against them, I have some idea. Shakib [Al Hasan] has played against all of them, so we will pick his brain. In this day and age, it is hard not to have knowledge on a player."
Mushfiqur however warned that his team will be under a little more pressure because of the heightened expectations now that India are not sending their big guns. He wants the Bangladesh players to improve on what they had done in the last few months when they had a string of losses since the Sri Lanka series in January, right up to the World T20.
"After seeing their team, I realised that there will more expectations on us. But usually there is more pressure when we play against India, even when they had Dhoni.
"Everyone wants us to beat them, so pressure was always there. We have to focus on what we are doing, since we have struggled in the last few months. If we can play to our potential, it is not impossible to beat their team," he said.
The three-match series was part of the 2012-2020 FTP, but still the BCB had to sign a Members' Participation Agreement (MPA) with BCCI last February to secure four series against India, including the one next month.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84Feeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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