Australia And Bangladesh Hampered By Injuries

v Bangladesh
Three-match One Day International series: August 31st, September 3rd, September 6th, Darwin

Preview by Pete Exley

An injury ravaged build-up to the three-match One Day International series has caused testing problems in both camps but Australia will be looking to stroll past a Bangladesh team that seems incapable of fulfilling their obvious potential.

There is a big question mark lingering over the Australia team at present, with the cricketing world waiting to see if the once unbeatable Aussies can cope against the world’s best after the retirement of so many influential players. The upcoming One Day series will provide a test in itself as the world champions are missing numerous first team regulars. First to be hit by injury was captain and talisman, Ricky Ponting who will miss the series with a wrist injury.

Veteran opener Matthew Hayden quickly followed Ponting in withdrawing to continue treatment on an Achilles injury in order to be fit for the four-match Test series against India which starts in October. Australia were dealt another blow when Brett Lee asked for approval to miss the series after the collapse of his marriage. This gives a chance to another Brett, Geeves, who will come into an inexperienced bowling attack. A successful campaign for Tasmania has resulted in his call up.

Ricky Ponting and Mohammad Ashraful

Ricky Ponting (left) and Mohammad Ashraful shake hands after
their Twenty20 encounter in South Africa in 2007 © Action Images

With Hayden missing out, Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson are likely to get the nod at the top of the order. The two stars of the IPL will have their own points to prove as Marsh has only recently broken into a settled batting line-up and Watson will want to demonstrate his undoubted talent and show that he has ditched his frustrating fitness problems that have plagued his fragmented career.

This series will provide interesting viewing as it may give an insight into the future of Australian cricket in the post-Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist era. However, with the typical Aussie self-confidence and fighting spirit, the new faces will want to show their worth, so anyone that thought Australia would take their lesser opponents lightly can expect them to come out with all guns blazing.

One would think that the challenge of facing up to Australia would be problem enough without having a large chunk of the squad ruled out due to injury and the unusual obstruction of education. Opening batsmen Shahriar Nafees put in a request
to be withdrawn from the squad stating that he wishes to focus on his studies at Dhaka University. This request was accepted, but his replacement, Nazimuddin, was soon ruled out of the tour after tearing a tendon in his finger whilst trying to catch a ball.

The top order batsman, who was hoping to establish himself as a regular in the team, will be replaced by Junaid Siddique who makes a return to the national team after four months away. Another player who has previously put his studies ahead of cricket is Shakib Al Hasan, who was included in the 15-man squad after missing the recent Kitply Cup and Asia Cup to concentrate on his studies. To rub salt into Bangladesh’s wounds, wicket-keeper Mushfiqur Rahim was ruled out with a shoulder injury which meant Dhiman Ghosh was called up. Although struggling for fitness, fast-bowler Mashrafe Mortaza is included in the squad, so Bangladesh will look to him to provide inspiration in what may turn out to be a difficult tour.

After showing promise in the 2007 World Cup, Bangladesh’s form has somewhat diminished. They crashed out of the Asia Cup with crushing defeats at the hands of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India. Their only victory of the campaign came against the United Arab Emirates, so the statistics do not bode well for a team whose last victory against a top nation came way back in the World Cup when they beat India by five wickets. But do not write off the Bangladeshis who, don’t forget, upset the Antipodean rivals back in 2005 when they were victorious in Cardiff.

Australia have to be the overwhelming favourites though and will no doubt prepare for their tricky sub-continent adventure against India with a comfortable win.

Match Venue Date Start Time
1st Commonwealth Bank ODI Darwin 30th August 2008 01:00 GMT
2nd Commonwealth Bank ODI Darwin 3rd September 2008 01:00 GMT
3rd Commonwealth Bank ODI Darwin 6th September 2008 01:00 GMT

© Cricket World 2008