Popular Bangladesh cricketer Nasir Hossain was under no illusions about the task facing the Tigers. After the Test series debacle, when the batsmen crashed and burned on pitches that were flat by South African standards, there are more flat wickets in the offing for the three-match ODI series against South Africa due to start at the Diamond Oval on Sunday.
Along with ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin, Nasir is part of the ODI influx who will try to lift the gloom that had beset the Test team. Once a regular in the ODI team till 2014, the bits-and-pieces all-rounder had fallen out of favour and played his last ODI against Ireland on the tour of Ireland in May this year. Speaking to reporters on Friday morning before the team left Bloemfontein for Kimberley, the 59-ODI veteran opined that a score of 300 was a must if they were to enjoy success against the South Africans.
“From what I have seen and however much I have batted, I thought the wicket was very good,” said Nasir. Nasir featured in the practice match against a South Africa Invitational XI in Bloemfontein on Thursday and it wasn’t a happy outing as Bangladesh were bowled out for 255 in 48.1 overs and lost by six wickets with 3.3 overs to spare. “It was a flat wicket. I think the match wicket will also be similarly flat. If we want to win, we have to score more than 300, and the bowlers have to work hard. It won’t be easy to get wickets here. There is not much in the wicket for the bowlers.
“If we can score more than 300 then maybe there will be a possibility to win. If we score less, we can still win, but that will be very hard.”
Nasir however did not think that the practice match would only have dented the Tigers’ confidence further. “A practice match is a practice match. It’s for our batsmen and bowlers to get a feel for the wicket. Everyone played 30 to 40 deliveries [with the exception of Nasir, Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das among the batsmen], and that helped our self-belief. Bowlers got a feel for where they should bowl. That will come of use in the match.”
The 25-year-old believed that a score of more than 300 was achievable by Bangladesh, and even managed to turn their unused overs in the practice match into a positive.
“Yesterday [Thursday], apart from one or two, no one did really well, but still we crossed 250 and there were even some balls remaining. If I our top order scores runs and our middle order scores runs, then it is possible to score more than 300.”
The problem on the tour has been that batsmen have really not capitalised on starts. Starting with the three-day tour match in Benoni, through the two Tests and up to Thursday’s practice match, there have been eight half-centuries by Bangladesh batsmen, but the highest score has been Mominul Haque’s 77 in the first innings of the first Test in Potchefstroom.
“The coach [Chandika Hathurusingha] is talking to everyone personally... almost everyone is getting starts but no one is able to turn it into a big innings. We have to find out why that is happening. We are working on it and discussing it with the coach.”