When Bangladesh national cricket team will take on West Indies on Wednesday in the first match of a three-match ODI series, it will be the Tigers’ first international fixture in 10 months. In comparison, the West Indies have played plenty of cricket in 2020 after the Covid-19 breakout including tours of England and New Zealand.
With this series, the two teams also commence their journey in the ICC World Cup Super League – a series of competitions that will determine The top eight teams of this competition will enjoy a direct entry to the World Cup 2023 in India.
In this series, Bangladesh will have a new-look batting order as Najmul Hossain Shanto will play at No. 3 and Soumya Sarkar will have to adjust at the lower order, maybe at No. 7.
At the same time, the Tigers are expected to have a new look pace-bowling attack as well. With the omission of the former captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the team management will have a chance to test the bowlers like Hasan Mahmud and Shoriful Islam, who earned their maiden call ups to Bangladesh’s ODI set-up.
While Hasan has already played a T20I for the Tigers, Shoriful is a fresh face who just shone for the Junior Tigers playing a pivotal role during Bangladesh’s ICC U-19 World Cup-winning campaign in South Africa in early 2020.
In Tuesday’s last practice session before the series starts, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan and Shoriful were the most hard-working pacers in the nets. At least two of the 3 might be included in the playing XI along with the main pacer Mustafizur Rahman.
This series will also be marked as Shakib Al Hasan’s comeback series after serving a year-long ban imposed by the ICC for failing to report corrupt approaches made to him by the bookies.
Shakib played his last international game back in 2019 against Afghanistan at home. Since then, he was out of all cricketing activities until made a comeback to competitive cricket with the Bangabandhu T20 Cup which took place late last year. But he failed to impress either with the ball or bat. He played nine games in the event and scored 110 runs and took six wickets.
In his comeback match after serving the ban, Shakib will be batting at No. 4 as the head coach of Bangladesh, Russell Domingo and captain, Tamim Iqbal, revealed recently. Shakib was Bangladesh’s most successful No. 3 in recent times, notably during the 2019 World Cup. So moving to a lower position will surely pose a new challenge for him. But the head coach and captain believe this will give the premium allrounder some extra breathing space.
While Bangladesh are busy finalizing their playing XI, West Indies are looking forward to a fresh start as they are missing at least 13 members of their regular set-up. Most of them said no to this series citing their concern over the Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh.
“It is (playing well) something that we will look at. It depends on how you play on the day. Obviously, a lot of the guys will be making their debut. Once you have the belief within yourself and within the team that you can win games, these things are achievable. It showed in the India-Australia Tests. We have the same mindset of playing some good cricket starting tomorrow, and hopefully results can go on our side as well,” Jason Mohammad, the West Indies stand-in captain for ODIs, told the media in the pre-series media interaction.
Jason also expressed their concern over facing Shakib in the ODI series. He addressed Shakib as “one of the best” going around in the world now.
In contrast, Bangladesh’s captain Tamim Iqbal said that they are looking forward to their own game rather than thinking much about the opponents. He said: “We are focusing on our own game. We have to keep our process right. At the international level, every team is a strong team and they will surely play hard to win the games.”
The teams have faced off each other in 38 ODIs, and Bangladesh came up victorious in 15 occasions with losing 21 instances. 17 of those 38 matches were played in Bangladesh, and the hosts won six of them with losing 10, and the other match ended up with no-result.
The match will start at 11:30am, and T-Sports and Nagorik TV will broadcast it live along with BTV.
Source: United News of Bangladesh