Challenge for Kohli-led India sans Dhoni

Indo Asian News Service

Fatullah (Bangladesh), Feb 25 (IANS) It will be a new challenge for a young Indian team, led by Virat Kohli, as they start Asia Cup campaign with their first ODI against hosts Bangladesh here Wednesday.

Sans Mahendra Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, the young Indian team will be looking to come back to winning ways after suffering ODI series loss in South Africa and New Zealand. All the three players were medmbers of the team that played the last Asia Cup here.

While Yuvraj and Raina have been dropped for their poor performance, Dhoni was ruled out with a side strain.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, who has replaced Dhoni, Tuesday said only players who were on the touring party to South Africa and New Zealand can say why the team lost the series.

"Actually, you should have asked this question to somebody who was part of these eight ODIs," he said after the team's practice session at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium at Mirpur.

Karthik, however, feels that as an outsider he will bring some freshness to the side.

"From an outsider point of view, I'm coming into this team fresh. As an individual I can talk of my perspective and say that for me it's going to be exciting. I'm sure it's the same for all the players. But somebody who has played those eight games will answer this question much better," he said.

Karthik, 28, who has featured in 67 ODIs, said he was not bothered with a last minute call-up to the national team.

"I got to know about three-four days back, I guess I'm used to it now being called so many times. It doesn't play on my mind too much," he said.

Karthik said it was important for him to get into the zone before the match.

"For me it's about coming out here... It's important to get into the zone just before the game. Obviously as a player I'm very excited to be a part of this Indian cricket team. It's one of the best teams available. For me, it's an honour to represent India and do the best that I can," he said.

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