Under-strength India, Sri Lanka arrive in Zimbabwe

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/sureshraina.jpg' class='caption'> An under-strength India and Sri Lanka arrived in Zimbabwe for a tri-nations tournament and say they have no problems touring the troubled African country.

Updated: May 27, 2010 08:03 IST
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Bulawayo, Zimbabwe:

An under-strength India and Sri Lanka arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday for a tri-nations cricket tournament and say they have no problems touring the troubled African country.

The teams arrived in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, and will both be led by stand-in captains for a series with the hosts, who are rebuilding their cricket team following a decade of political and economic turmoil.

"It's been a very nice journey and its good to be here because Zimbabwe is a nice place," India captain Suresh Raina said. "We are a young side and everyone is keen to do well in this series."

Raina, who will stand in for regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, said the disappointment of the recent World Twenty 20 in the West Indies, where India failed to make the semifinals, would not affect his young players ahead of the one-day competition.

"It was a big disappointment for us the players and the fans, but 50-over cricket is different. When playing ODI cricket you have more time to work on different strategies, unlike in Twenty20."

Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka's skipper in the absence of wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, also said his team was happy to be in the country, despite a two-hour delay at Bulawayo's airport after visa problems.

"I like it here," Dilshan said. It's a good country."

The 33-year-old batsman added he had good personal memories of Zimbabwe.

"I made both my test and ODI debuts here in Bulawayo in 1999 and I'm glad to come back as captain," he told The Associated Press at the team's hotel.

Dilshan, who has been one of Sri Lanka's most exciting players in recent years, burst onto the international scene on that tour of Zimbabwe 11 years go with an unbeaten 163 _ his first test hundred.

Dilshan said the tri-nations series, which begins with Zimbabwe versus Sri Lanka on Friday, will be tightly contested.

"All three teams have young teams," he said. "None of the teams is better than the other. We all have equal chances of winning the series."

Zimbabwe last hosted a major cricket nation in 2008, when the Sri Lankans toured.

A string of test-playing nations, most recently New Zealand, have chosen to boycott the country because of political problems and the repressive rule of President Robert Mugabe.

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