India's strenous season continues; faces Pak in tri-series clash

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Dhaka, Jun 7 (UNI) After a much hyped first season of the IPL came to an end this week, Indian team will finally re-group and look to flex its muscles on arch rivals Pakistan when they both take on each other in the second match of the tri-series at Mirpur stadium here on June 10.

While India had a busy year so far, Pakistan would be desperate for action as they could play just two one-day series at home this year, blanking minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh by identical 5-0 margins.

With Bangladesh as the third side in the tournament, the onus to provide some good cricket will obviously be on India and Pakistan.

The four-match series will allow the teams to prepare for sterner tests ahead as the Asia Cup later this month and the Champions Trophy in September will be hosted by Pakistan which will mark the return of serious cricket to that country after Australia cancelled a scheduled Test tour in March due to security concerns.

Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson said his boys are eager to get to the field and play some good cricket. He also admitted that the tournament would provide some good practice for the Asia Cup.

''We look forward to the series in Bangladesh because it will help us get into the groove for the Asia Cup at home.

''The boys are desperate to play good cricket again,'' Lawson said.

On the other hand, an overworked Indian team, who have been playing cricket continously for last one year will have to get their acts together after a gruelling 44-day Twenty20 domestic tournament at home where the team members were seen competing against each other for the IPL trophy.

Team India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, too, believes that there has been a lot of cricket in the last year or so but made his stand clear that his side will not take it easy, as playing for the country brings motivation from within the individual.

''There has been a lot of cricket for us but that is the life of a modern sportsman,'' said Dhoni.

''Motivation is never a problem when playing for India. The key is to stay fit and pace ourselves,'' he added.

The Dhaka contests will be India's first limited-overs outing since scoring a stunning 2-0 win over World Cup champions Australia in the tri-series finals in Sydney and Brisbane in March.

Pakistan, already missing banned fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, suffered another blow when fellow seamer Mohammad Asif was detained at Dubai airport this week on allegations of possessing illegal drugs.

Asif, one of cricket's most promising seamers, was then replaced for the Dhaka tournament by rookie fast bowler Sohail Khan.

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