Bangladesh - A Long Held Promise Still Due
In all honesty, Bangladesh are highly unlikely to reach the quarter-finals of this year's World Cup despite having recognised players like Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan in their squad. Even though they whitewashed Zimbabwe 3-0 in the Test series and 5-0 in the ODI series in October-December last year, Bangladesh have not had enough match practice against higher-ranked opponents, which will be a major problem for them heading into the World Cup.
Furthermore, Bangladesh have a habit of choking when they are in an advantageous position. A prime example of this was when Bangladesh bowled India out for 105 during a rain-affected ODI at Mirpur in June last year. However, despite having 41 overs to make 106 runs, Bangladesh crumbled under the pressure of chasing a low target and were skittled out for a dismal 58 thanks to a six-wicket haul from India all-rounder Stuart Binny.
If Bangladesh even want to have a sniff of getting into the quarter-finals, they will need to treat every game as if it could be their last. They cannot afford to collapse when chasing simple targets and they definitely can't afford to give away too many runs either since batting has not been their strong point as of late.
While Bangladesh have to focus on brushing up in all areas of their game, they also have to be concerned about the mindset of a few individuals. The first person is opening batsman Tamim Iqbal. Having just recovered from a knee operation, Bangladesh will have to ensure that they limit his workload during the tournament since losing him would be catastrophic for them. This is because they don't have many experienced openers in their arsenal and none that can match the firepower that Iqbal possesses.
The second individual is pace bowler Rubel Hossain. While Hossain will be delighted to be representing his country during the World Cup, there can be no denying the fact that the thought of having to go back to court after the tournament will constantly be at the back of his mind. For those who don't know why Hossain has to go back to court, let's start from the beginning.
Hossain was initially charged with raping and lying about his intent to marry 19-year-old actress Naznin Akter Happy. While he was also refused bail initially, a Dhaka Court finally agreed to let him play in the World Cup provided that he returns to answer to the charges against him after Bangladesh were knocked out of the tournament. This whole ordeal will definitely be affecting Hossain's mindset. But, there is no real way of knowing how much this controversy will affect his on-field performance until he actually steps out onto the pitch.
There were no real surprises when it came to Bangladesh's World Cup squad. But, the one interesting question everyone seems to be asking is how the team will cope without spinner Sohag Gazi, who can be very useful with the bat as well. Even though Gazi's bowling action was cleared just recently, Bangladesh decided not to take the risk of including him in their 15-man squad. As of right now, only time will tell whether the national selectors will regret this decision or not.
18th February – Afghanistan v Bangladesh in Canberra
21st February – Australia v Bangladesh in Brisbane
26th February – Bangladesh v Sri Lanka in Melbourne
5th March – Bangladesh v Scotland in Nelson
9th March – Bangladesh v England in Adelaide
13th March – New Zealand v Bangladesh in Hamilton
Recent Form (last 10 ODI matches):
(recent) W, W, W, W, W, L, L, L,N/R, L
December 1, 2014 - Beat Zimbabwe by five wickets (Dhaka)
November 28, 2014 - Beat Zimbabwe by 21 runs (Dhaka)
November 26, 2014 - Beat Zimbabwe by 124 runs (Dhaka)
November 23, 2014 - Beat Zimbabwe by 68 runs (Chittagong)
November 21, 2014 - Beat Zimbabwe by 87 runs (Chittagong)
August 25, 2014 - Lost to West Indies by 91 runs (Basseterre)
August 22, 2014 - Lost to West Indies by 177 runs (St George's)
August 20, 2014 - Lost to West Indies by three wickets (St George's)
June 19, 2014 - No result as match against India abandoned due to rain (Dhaka)
June 17, 2014 - Lost to India by 47 runs (Dhaka)
Bangladesh have a W/L ratio of 0.470 having won just 8 games and lost 17.
Bangladesh have recorded their highest score of 283 against India (2011) and lowest score 58 against West Indies (also in 2011).
Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Taijul Islam
Player To Watch:
Shakib Al Hasan - After being reinstated following his ban, Shakib has been in red-hot form with both the ball and bat. A highly encouraging sign for Bangladesh will be the fact that he recently played for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League (BBL).
This can be used to their advantage since Shakib will have some idea of how his side can succeed in Australian conditions. If Bangladesh listen to his advice, then it is possible that they could go on and cause an upset or two during the World Cup.
© Cricket World 2015