Bangladesh vs. India 2014 ODIs: What Was the Value of Second-String Series?

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Bangladesh vs. India 2014 ODIs: What Was the Value of Second-String Series?
A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

One average game, one dismal game, one game bordering on being dismal and then rained out.

That was the sum total of India's three-match ODI series against Bangladesh. The third ODI was washed out, the first time it had ever happened at the venue.

With a World Cup on the go and India sending a second-string side for the series, it's fair to say that this has been one of the most understated series in recent memory. But did it have any worth for either side?

As per ESPNCrcinfo, skipper Suresh Raina said after the match that he had found some positives:

Very happy with the side, especially Stuart Binny, who bowled really well alongside Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav. When we came here for Asia Cup, Taskin used to bowl to us in the nets, so really happy to see him do well. We played good cricket, especially when you know World Cup is coming up, a lot of youngsters showed their character.

Ah, the other World Cup. That, perhaps, is the single most important point for both teams. There is still some time to prepare for the tournament.

As it currently stands, India have just five ODIs left before the all-important tournament next year. They are all scheduled to be played in England against England and will most likely happen with a much stronger team.

Of course, there are T20 matches here and there, but judging a player's ODI ability on T20 performance isn't always safe.

Not many of the India squad who played in this series can expect to be considered for the World Cup side, and even the second-string players were disappointing. Only two players scored fifties, Robin Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane, each performing in the first match but failing thereafter.

The bowlers were somewhat better with Stuart Binny particularly impressive with his six wickets at an average of 0.66. Mohit Sharma also continued to show that he is a long-term prospect for India, taking four wickets at an average of 11.25.

Still, there was an underlying apathy surrounding this series with the build-up to the tour to England dominating the headlines and Bangladesh's implosion also taking centre stage.

Bangladesh are probably the side who has gained most from this. They have just three ODIs scheduled before the World Cup, and their disastrous result in the second ODI should prompt some serious introspection.  

Mushfiqur Rahim has reason to be pleased with his bowlers. Taskin Ahmed, a 19-year old quick, has showed some real promise. After the match was abandoned, Rahim, again from ESPNCrcinfo, said:

The wicket was helping but you still have to bowl in good areas, so credit goes to our pace bowlers, especially Taskin and Al Amin. When the win is not coming it is difficult to motivate the others but there are a few positives, and we have a new coaching staff, and we will work together and look to improve.

It's fair to say that Bangladesh are the biggest winners after this series, despite the massive losses.

They have learned that there is potential and there is talent in this team. They also now know that they need to do some serious soul searching to get that talent to click.

For India, Stuart Binny might have won Man of the Series, but he is unlikely to unsettle the current one-day bowlers

India might also know be sure that Che Pujara is not quite ready for one-day cricket yet, but other than that, the value from the series for them was minimal.

Would this series have been better off not being played at all? Not really. With Bangladesh already struggling to play regular competitive cricket, it was an important outing for them.

That it hardly mattered for India is not important because cricket needs to start focusing on the bigger picture.

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