DHAKA // India must maintain their high level of performance in all forms of international cricket if they are to be considered among the world's best teams, said vice captain Virender Sehwag yesterday. India climbed to the top of the ICC Test rankings for the first time last month, but the side have struggled to establish supremacy in one-day international cricket.
They start 2010 with a triangular one-day series involving Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from tomorrow, followed by Two Test matches against Bangladesh. "I think our target is just to play good amount of cricket," Sehwag said after the team arrived at Dhaka airport. "You know, last two years we were playing very tough and good cricket. So hopefully we will do it in 2010 also. "It's important for the team to play well consistently. If you do that you will stay there in No 1 or No 2 positions."
India are second in the one-day rankings behind Australia, but can reduce the gap with a good performance in the tri-series, which they start as favourites. While Sri Lanka have made sweeping changes for the series, dropping key players due to injury and poor form, Sehwag said it did not make India's task any easier. "When the new players come nobody knows what he will do or what he does. It's difficult for the teams to bowl or bat against them," said Sehwag.
"I think Sri Lanka still are a good side. It will be a tough task for us." India defeated a full-strength Sri Lanka 3-1 in their recent one-day home series, which was dominated by batsmen. Sehwag, one of India's key performers, said he expected more of the same in Bangladesh. "I think whenever you play in the subcontinent you will get the same kind of wicket," he added. "It's a good track to bat on and later on the wicket gets slower and slower and if dew is here then its a big factor."
That series came off the back of the Indians beating Sri Lanka 2-0 in a three-match Test series. The countries also won one Twenty20 game each when they met in December. Meanwhile, captain MS Dhoni said India would benefit from having a specialist bowling coach. The Indian cricket board sacked Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh as bowling and fielding coaches in October after the country's early exit from the Twenty20 World Cup in England and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.
"To some extent it does hurt not having a bowling coach. If you have a specialist coach he is always interacting with the bowlers and trying to get the best out of them," Dhoni said. "He [coach Gary Kirsten] has to look after everything: he has to sit and talk to the batsmen, bowlers, fielders, build strategies and look after team building." The Indian board have recruited former Australian fielding coach Mike Young as their fielding consultant but has not decided whether to recruit a specialist bowling coach.