• Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Dhaka Bank Cup 2014
West Indies vs Bangladesh

Tigers' WI mission starts today

Sports Reporter

Zero wins in 10 games. That is what Bangladesh's win-loss ratio in ODIs look like in 2014; the worst of the lot. In fact Afghanistan, Scotland, Kenya, Netherlands and even the UAE have fared better.

It is with this nightmare of a statistic that the Tigers will take on a full-strength West Indies side, unlike their last tour in 2009, at the National Cricket Stadium in St George's, Grenada today. Seems like a task too hard? Considering the fact that Bangladesh's best batsman has averaged two runs per innings this year, that their highest wicket taker has a stupendous bowling average of 109 and that they are missing their top all-rounder, yes, on the surface it probably does.

However, as grave as the situation may seem, the Tigers have had something to cheer about in each of their tours of the West Indies. Be it the draw in the Test at Gros Islet in 2004, where Khaled Mashud and Mohammad Rafique sparkled with surprising centuries, their 2007 ODI World Cup ousting of India in the first round, or the whitewashes in 2009 where a Shakib Al Hasan-led Bangladesh thumped a second-string West Indian unit. Funnily enough, the two-nil series win five years ago means that the Tigers lead the hosts by two games to one in terms of Tests played in the Caribbean. An interesting bit of trivia for Bangladesh fans -- only South Africa and Australia have similarly outgunned the West Indies in their own backyard, albeit having played significantly more matches..

The question however remains as to whether the dismantled Tigers can use their past record to encourage themselves. The most immediate signs look hopeful. Opener Tamim Iqbal seems to have hit form in the last three practice matches -- two at home before their departure and one one-dayer against Grenada on Sunday.

His 91 off 86 in the game against Grenada, according to team manager Habibul Bashar, was on a two-paced wicket. The left-hander had reportedly shown great technique to handle the nature of the pitch. The same match saw Mahmudullah Riyad also show encouraging signs with an aggressive 78.

Bangladesh's spinners have a decent record against the West Indies. Even leaving aside Shakib, the other spinners seem to have had a good time bowling against them. Abdur Razzak has taken 18 wickets in 13 games at an average of 28.66 against the West Indies -- the highest by a Bangladeshi. Mahmudullah Riyad comes next with 11 wickets at an average of 27.72. Shohag Gazi however, holds pole position in the averages with nine wickets in five games at 17.33. Gazi's brilliant statistics is due to the dream run that he had in his debut series back in 2012.

However, with the spinners out of form, the Tigers are expected to depend more on their pacers this time. A lot is expected from the likes of Taskin Ahmed and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.

For the West Indies, their key player has to be their captain Dwayne Bravo. He has had a phenomenal run both with the bat and ball this year. The highest run-getter and wicket-taker for the West Indies this year, Bravo will be raring to have a go at the struggling Tigers.

While their management may not be in the best of states with the controversy surrounding their coach Otis Gibson -- he was reportedly not present during his side's training yesterday -- the West Indians go in to the series as clear favourites.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Last modified: 12:44 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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