| Rahul Dravid and Ravi Shastri answer queries after the team’s arrival at the Zia International Airport in Dhaka on Monday. (AFP)
Dhaka: There was a six-hour gap between the arrivals, but both Team India and Sheikh Hasina landed with more than a point to score.
Rahul Dravid’s men need to prove that the loss to Bangladesh in the World Cup wasn’t anything more than an aberration; the Awami League chief needs to establish that she has nothing to hide.
While one is seeking to play beautifully, the other is preparing for bold moves. Indeed, the next few weeks are crucial for both.
“We aren’t here with revenge on our minds... That’s not how international sport is played... Bangladesh did well in the World Cup, but we’ve prepared well for this tour,” emphasised Dravid.
The Team India captain looked relaxed as he checked-in at the Sheraton. “I’m fine... I’ll be fit for the first ODI (on Thursday),” he told The Telegraph.
Dravid has made a quick recovery after being hit by young Rudra Pratap Singh at nets the other day. Just as well, or else the tour would’ve started with a controversy over the stand-in captain.
In what is an unhealthy first, the Indians have arrived without a vice-captain.
The firsts, actually, are many. Sachin Tendulkar has been “rested” and the team is accompanied by specialist bowling (Venkatesh Prasad) and fielding (Robin Singh) coaches.
Also, the flamboyant Ravi Shastri is wearing the coach’s hat, but with a different designation — cricket manager.
“It’s a different feeling, yes, and there’s certainly excitement... How different and how exciting is something that remains to be seen,” Shastri said in an exclusive interaction.
Earlier, talking to local newspersons, he promised “hard, entertaining cricket.”
If Shastri was superstitious, though, he would lose some sleep: Power went off the moment he entered the hotel’s elevator and, when the supply got restored, it wouldn’t accept his key-card!
He chose to spare the hotel staff greater embarrassment by stepping out and taking the other elevator.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ramesh Powar and Munaf Patel encountered the same problem. However, they stayed put and got off once the elevator stopped on a higher floor — the 11th. “Let’s take the emergency stairs... It’s better to walk down than climb up,” Dhoni quipped.
The most enthusiastic nod came from, you guessed it, Powar.
With Sourav Ganguly also “rested”, Bengal’s lone representative is rookie Manoj Tiwary. “Uni kothay... bole deben please...” was the request from more than one local.
As for Tiwary himself, he’s “bahut khush” and not weighed down by pressure. “The conditioning camp in Calcutta was great... It felt great travelling with the team too,” he pointed out.
There’ll be nothing like a great debut.
Footnote: The dashing Tamim Iqbal is a bit under the weather, but should be available for the tour-opener. There’s more concern over the weather, though. It rained for a while on Monday afternoon and longer spells aren’t ruled out later in the week.