Tigers look to make amends
Bangladesh will stride into their second one-day international against Afghanistan at Mirpur today with a few things to iron out and a milestone to reach.
While a victory will enable the Tigers to carry on the magnificent home run to their sixth consecutive series success, this particular match that starts at 2.30pm however bears special significance as far as Bangladesh's one-day history is concerned. It will be their 314th ODI and if they win it will be their 100th victory in the 50-over-contest.
But after their seven-run win in the first ODI of the three-match series against Afghanistan on Sunday, which marked the return of the Tigers to international one-day assignments after a gap of ten months, the focus of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's side was to correct those mistakes they had committed the other day, when they eked out a nervy win from the jaws of defeat against a feisty Afghanistan.
And there were plenty of activities to complement that notion during training yesterday, when the focus was mainly on fielding. Bangladesh dropped a few catches in the first game and the ground fielding was not up to the lofty standard they have already set. Coach Chandika Hathurusingha was seen acting as a batsman while conducting an intense slip catching practice. A few of the players who have been not so agile had to go for extra session in fielding. Even Mushfiqur Rahim was involved in an extended session donning his wicket-keeping gloves. Misfiring opener Soumya Sarker, who has been starving for runs and scored a duck in the last game, got special attention in the nets as the team management desperately wants him to hit form.
The extra effort in fielding was something that Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe put emphasis on while attending a pre-match briefing yesterday.
"We can accept rustiness in batting or bowling since we are playing after almost one year. But we cannot accept any excuse regarding fielding which has nothing to do with a long gap," said the inspirational Bangladesh captain with most ODI wins under his leadership.
Asked if there is any plan to change the formation of the team, he said: "We are yet to discuss anything about the team for the second game. At the moment we more focused on the mistakes we made in the first game."
Although Mashrafe refused to speak about the team, it is likely that Bangladesh might field the same eleven that played in the first game. If it is the case then a Bangladesh debut for young batsman Mosaddek Hossain, who hit a fine 74 in the lone practice game at Fatullah, would be delayed.
However, with the team management led by Hatuhrusingha remaining flexible to selection issue till the last moment, one cannot rule out a change in the line-up.
A change or not, rain or no rain, it's for sure that Bangladesh will come out harder in their already fortified fort today.