• Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First taste of the Caribbean

Tigers kick off their tour with a one-dayer today

Sports Reporter

Bangladesh begin their tour of the West Indies with a 50-over game against Grenada at the Progress Park today.

"They generally allow 13 players to play in a practice match. We will use that option if it is allowed. We want our players to get as much practice as possible," team manager Habibul Bashar told The Daily Star over phone yesterday.

The Grenada Cricket Association on Friday had announced a 16-man squad, to be led by 26-year-old West Indian opening batsman Andre Fletcher, for the match. It also includes West Indian players Devon Smith and Nelon Pascal.

For the Tigers, who have been training at the outer ground of the National Stadium -- where the first two ODIs are scheduled to take place -- the one-day match will be their first opportunity to adjust to the conditions.

The first objective for the batsmen will be to adjust to the bouncy condition, an aspect which a strong Bangladesh A team failed at doing earlier in the year during their series against the West Indian High Performance Unit.

The Tigers will also be keen to see how their pacers perform in foreign conditions, which according to Bashar is 'hot and humid' with rain. Bangladesh have four pacers in the side -- Al- Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza -- and it won't be a surprise if all of them feature in the game.

Despite the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, who is serving a suspension, spin will remain Bangladesh's strong point. From the current squad, Abdur Razzak, Mahmudullah Riyad and Shohag Gazi have the highest West Indian scalps. Razzak has 18 off 13 ODIs, Riyad has 11 off 8 while Gazi took nine wickets in the five-match series at home back in 2012.

It's an aspect that the West Indians are aware of and are looking to counter. 22-year-old West Indian batsman Kraigg Brathwaite, who has been in stunning form, that he and the other batsmen are doing a 'lot of work' against spinners in order to be 'more confident'.

Bangladesh will also have to work on setting their batting-order. With openers Anamul Haque Bijoy and Tamim Iqbal expected to start the proceedings, the number three position will see a three-way battle among Mominul Haque, Mithun Ali and Imrul Kayes. With no Shakib at four, one of these three players is also expected to play at that position. Kayes, with his good run both at home and away, seemingly holds the edge.

While the tour began on a rough note for the Tigers -- they reached Grenada without 12 pieces of luggage -- everything seems to be back in order according to Bashar.

"Honestly speaking, it was not much of a bother. We just had to make do for a day. The luggage did arrive eventually and everything is smooth now. We are hoping for the best," said Bashar.

The first two ODIs will take place on August 20 and 22.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last modified: 1:04 am Sunday, August 17, 2014

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