HOW CAN I GET BACK IN RUNS? Returning batsman Aftab Ahmed (R) talks to star opener Tamim Iqbal, who hit a marvellous century in the first ODI against England on Sunday, as they head for the nets session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. PHOTO: STAR
In a brave move not taken by many of his peers, Mushfiqur Rahim admitted yesterday of his struggle behind the stumps.
The 22-year-old had a wretched time in the first one-dayer against England on Sunday, missing a straight caught-behind and a stumping chance at crucial times.
"I have batted well in the last few series, but I'm having a few problems in keeping," admitted Mushfiqur during practice yesterday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur ahead of the crucial second one-dayer at the same venue today.
"I have made a few mistakes at very crucial times which may have cost the team dear. But these things happen in cricket. I'm trying to get over this bad patch," said the diminutive wicketkeeper.
Coach Jamie Siddons pointed out the Bangladesh vice-captain's mental state while keeping but was hopeful that Mushfiqur would bounce back.
"Mushfiqur takes a lot of stress when he is keeping. Probably the pressure of the team not doing well gets on him.
"He has gone through that before in batting and has overcome it. I'm sure he will overcome this bad patch with the keeping. He just needs a bit more confidence when keeping. But he's the best keeper around," said Siddons.
Wicketkeeping apart the Tigers have a major problem, their batting, and Siddons mentioned his displeasure.
"Many of them got starts, but couldn't carry on. It was very disappointing.
"They know how to stick around, especially Imrul [Kayes], Mushfiqur [Rahim] and [Mahmudullah] Riyad are capable of playing long innings," added the Australian coach while also praising the effort of the one man who played to potential.
"One of the boys stepping up, amazing stuff, need to put these efforts together. Tamim is in great form. He knows how to dominate and knuckle down when needed," said Siddons.
The Tigers may opt for left-handed all-rounder Sohrawardi Shuvo in place of specialist batsman Zunaed Siddiqui in the final eleven for today's match but it still isn't clear whether the youngster would be pitched in such a crucial game. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who made a comeback after several months in the last game, could be rested and replaced by Rubel Hossain.
On the other hand, Graeme Swann also suggested that England might go for the second spinner.
"I'm not the one to talk about selection but I will be surprised if there isn't a second spinner included for the second game, again I might be surprised to see the winning combination broken," said Swann, who hinted that England could bat first if they win the toss.
"I quite enjoyed chasing because didn't have to come to the field to bat [on Sunday]. I think it will be good if we batted first. If we bat first tomorrow [Tuesday] we would try to set a total beyond the reach of Bangladesh," added the off-spinner.
However both Swann and Mushfiqur had different views on a winning score in the Mirpur wicket. But the Bangladesh vice-captain said anything around 270-280 would be safe against this England team.
"I don't think it will be difficult to beat them if we make 270-280 batting first. If we can bat till fifty overs we can put 270-280 because their attack is not that great. 270 above would be a score hard to chase in our condition.
"They did not play spin that well. They didn't have to take too many risks," said the wicketkeeper from Bogra.
However Swann declared a rather low total that would be enough for his side. "Anything around 240-250 could be a very good score," said Swann.
Swann however had some kind words for Tamim.
"Tamim [Iqbal] is a good prospect. He came against us all guns blazing and then calmed down when required. But we kept taking wickets at the other end," said the off-spinner.
"I have been impressed from what I've seen. They are an improving side with talented players like Tamim, Shakib," said Swann.
BANGLADESH (probable): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Zunaed Siddiqui, Aftab Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim, Naeem Islam, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak.
ENGLAND (probable): Alastair Cook (captain), Craig Kieswetter, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Ryan Sidebottom, Luke Wright, Tim Bresnan.