India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni begins the new year grappling with a double-headed problem as he seeks to maintain consistency in the triangular one-day tournament in Bangladesh, which starts today.
India, who ended 2009 as the International Cricket Council's (ICC) top-ranked Test team, have been ragged in the shorter formats of the game, although the recent 3-1 series home win against Sri Lanka seems to suggest they have turned a corner.
Their star-studded side has often looked amateurish in the field with catches – several of them sitters – being dropped with regularity, while Dhoni has the added problem of an inaccurate attack – his best bowlers were blasted around the park by Sri Lanka's depleted line-up – yet he believes redemption is around the corner.
"Our bowling and fielding is a matter of concern," said the skipper. "Our bowling, especially at the death, has been a problem area for sometime, although we seemed to have shown some improvement recently.
"We have been good in patches, but we are not consistent enough and I don't see why we cannot be consistent. We are at a low at the moment, but it is only a matter of time before we get it right," added Dhoni.
Hosts Bangladesh take on Sri Lanka in the opening match of the tournament today and, although India and Sri Lanka are favourites to make the final, India opening batsman and vice-captain Virender Sehwag is not taking the home side lightly.
"We expect both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to be very competitive," said Sehwag.
"Sri Lanka are the toughest considering their strength, but there is no question of taking anyone for granted. Bangladesh are a tough team to play at home and on their day they are capable of beating any team in the world.
"We have got to play good, competitive cricket and once we do that the results will take care of itself," he said.
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka both have under-strength squads for the series that pits each team against one another twice. The top two sides will then play the final on January 13.
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