Bangladesh vs West Indies 1st ODI Preview: Focus on Shakib's return as Tigers set to resume against depleted visitors
With ODI World Cup qualifying points up for grabs, both Bangladesh and West Indies will not be taking the three-match ODI series lightly.
West Indies light on resources
West Indies Test captain Jason Holder, Test vice-captain Roston Chase and limited-overs captain Kieron Pollard, and are among 10 players to have pulled out of the tour of Bangladesh due to Covid-19 concerns.
Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran are the other players to miss out. All-rounder Fabian Allen and wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich are also unavailable because of personal reasons. This leaves West Indies thin on resources.
Head to head
West Indies have the upper hand in the ODI clashes between the two teams, having won 21 out of the 38 matches. However, with several of their first-choice players pulling out, it would not be that easy for the visitors to secure a series win in the home conditions of Bangladesh.
In the 17 ODIs played between the two teams in Bangladesh, West Indies have won 10 while Bangladesh have won 6, with one match ending without a result.
All eyes on Shakib's return
The centre of attraction in the series will be the return of Shakib Al Hasan who is set to make a comeback after serving a one-year-long ban for not reporting a corrupt approach. Off-field issues aside, Shakib has been sensational for Bangladesh and is among their greatest cricketers of all-time.
Shortly before he was banned, Shakib was the highest run scorer for Bangladesh and the third highest in the 2019 ODI World Cup. Batting at number 3, Shakib took more responsibility and scored over 600 runs from 8 matches at a startling average of 86.57 and a strike rate of 96.
The former Bangladesh captain struck two centuries and five centuries in the tournament with the best of 124 not out.
Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo has already hinted at Shakib batting at number four in the ODIs to provide more balance to the side. The all-rounder is also set to bowl his full quota of 10 overs and how he delivers on his return to the international stage will go a long way in deciding the course of this series.
Bangladesh search for balance between pace and spin
Bangladesh, who generally rely on spin for success at home, are trying to blood in young pace bowlers. They have added six pace-bowling options in Mustafizur Rahman, Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Shoriful Islam and Hasan Mahmud to their squad and would want to give a couple of youngsters a go in the series.
"It is a big series for us. World Cup qualifying points are up for grabs. We want to make sure that we can start our campaign really well. We are definitely focusing one game at a time. We want to start the series well," Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo earlier said.
"Obviously Shanto has been in really good form. It is great to have Shakib back. He had an unbelievable World Cup at No. 3. At the moment I am probably thinking of having the experienced players at four, five and six. It gives us good maturity and experience in the middle-order. We know playing in the sub-continent where the middle-order is so important."
Lack of training time for West Indies
Apart from being without many of their top players, West Indies might also be a bit rusty to begin with. The team, after undergoing a three-day quarantine in their hotel rooms, started practicing at the BCB academy from January 14 and played an intra-squad game on January 18.
With the first ODI slated on January 20, they have effectively had only five days of practice, which might not prove to be enough.
Here's the squads of both teams:
Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal Khan (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Md Mithun, Litton Kumer Das, Md Mahmud Ullah, Afif Hossain Dhrubo, Soumya Sarkar, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hassan Miraz, Saif Uddin, Mahadi Hasan, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam
West Indies - Jason Mohammed (captain), Sunil Ambris (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Kjorn Ottley, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.
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