• Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tigers' last shot at regaining confidence

Sports Reporter

The Tigers will play their last practice game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium at Mirpur today before their departure for the West Indies on August 13. Like the first practice game on Thursday, the second match will also be a 60-over per side affair and will be played with the red ball.

The first practice game saw a number of players hit form. Tamim Iqbal received a much-needed boost with a 102-ball 44. Mominul Haque, who had a torrid time in the West Indies while playing for Bangladesh A last month was also among the runs with a fluent 43.

Nasir Hossain and Shamsur Rahman also fared well with half-centuries.

One would hope that the practice matches help the Tigers rediscover their form, which they have been woefully lacking this year. They are yet to win an ODI in 2014, having lost nine out of the ten matches they participated in.

With a majority of the players not in form, they will hope to gain some confidence from their previous encounters against the West Indies.

Mahmudullah Riyad, for instance, boasts a batting average of 63.75 against the West Indies. He has scored 255 runs against them. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim too has a good record, having scored 415 runs at an average of 41.50.

The last time Bangladesh played the West Indies was in 2012 where the Tigers won the ODI series 3-2. Off-spinner Shohag Gazi, who debuted during the Test series, performed well in both the Test and ODI series. He picked up a four-wicket haul in his first ODI and also finished with figures of 9 for 219 in his first Test.

Anamul Haque will also have fond memories of the West Indies as he scored his first ODI century against them in Khulna in 2012. His 120 helped the Tigers take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. He is also the only Bangladesh player to score a century against the West Indies in ODI cricket.

Slow left-armer Abdur Razzak, with 18 wickets, is Bangladesh's highest wicket-taker against the West Indies.

While these statistics do provide hope for a possible turnaround for the Tigers, the fact remains that almost all of the players mentioned above are out of form. Razzak, for instance, has a bowling average above 100 this year; Gazi, as opposed to his emphatic beginning, struggles to find a place in the final 11; Nasir's average this year is hovering below 20 while questions have been raised regarding Riyad's place in the side.

As a result of the lack of form among the established players the onus will be on the newer players in the side such as Taskin Ahmed and the returning Imrul Kayes, both of whom have been in good touch recently.

However, there's no doubt that for this series to be a fruitful one, Bangladesh need its players to take a leaf out of the series in 2012. 

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, August 09, 2014

TAGS: Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium Imrul Kayes Taskin Ahmed practice game

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