ODI series preview: Bangladesh v Windies
A new coach, new captain and refreshed sense of destiny for the Tigers, while for the Windies it's another bid to move on minus their older school.
With a new coach, new captain and a spate of momentum gained from their victory in Tuesday's one-off Twenty20 International, Bangladesh head into this month's three one-dayers more capable than ever of pipping a team sitting one position higher than them in the ICC ODI rankings.
Whether or not parting ways with Jamie Siddons and later sacking Shakib Al Hasan was right are queries of the past and, under the guidance of Stuart Law and fresh leadership of Mushfiqur Rahim, the Tigers must look to build on the hard slog of their predecessors.
They couldn't have asked for a more temperamental team to do so against. In the Windies, the hosts enjoy an opposition prone to a fragile mental game and stop-start performances, and with Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo absent, the case is even more so.
It's in ODI cricket that Bangladesh are, for the first year or so of Law's tenure at least, going to challenge the most. While their recent defeats at the hands of a spirited Zimbabwe team eager to make their return to the big stage count spelled momentary disaster, it would've eventually afforded the brains trust a good kick in the backside and a better view to the future.
That foresight must gradually be pounced on – starting with this series – and a clearer direction in personnel this time around suggests the Tigers are on the right track. The removal of Junaid Siddique and a handful of other perennial underachievers leaves the seemingly more committed – Shuvagoto Hom, Alok Kapali and the like – to cement their roles in the team's future. Play-makers Tamim Iqbal and Shahriar Nafees are left to strut their stuff, while Abdur Razzak will front an attack very reliant on spin bowling. Mohammad Ashraful, meanwhile, is a more rounded, responsible cricketer these days and rather than another make-or-break series for the former captain, this one comes as one more stepping stone to return to his former, relative glory.
For the Windies, it's a latest stride in their bid to move on sans Twenty20 globetrotter Gayle. Having taken a bunch of rookies over to England for those token T20Is at the end of last month, the men from the Caribbean are pretty much back to the stock standard that has served them inconsistently over the last year.
One never knows what they are going to serve up, though – and in foreign conditions it's likely that their spin-shy batsmen will be found wanting. Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo and Adrian Barath, however, will be key to bucking this trend in the batting ranks, while it's left to Ravi Rampaul to pick up on his fine form in the Champions League Twenty20 in leading the seam attack. This three-match affair – played across low and conditions at every turn and against potentially problematic opposition – is sure to show exactly what leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo is made of. Darren Sammy's captaincy, well, gets another chance to counter its doubters.
By no means the strike-ravaged second-stringers that were whitewashed at the hands of Bangladesh in 2009 and, equally so, not the star-studded team that thrashed them in this year's World Cup, the Windies have a steady balance to find in Dhaka and Chittagong. Whether or not a series win will be a product of that, the visitors simply have to take something from a tour that is hardly off to a promising start.
<B>Key Men</b><br><i>Bangladesh:</i> Freed from the burden of the captaincy and eager to "concentrate on only himself", <B>Shakib Al Hasan's</B> status as a veritable one-man army with bat and ball enjoys a new dimension. With Mohammad Mahmudullah ruled out due to illness, the former skipper takes on more responsibility with the ball, though.
<i>West Indies:</i> <B>Ravi Rampaul</B>, fresh from his insight on subcontinental conditions during the CLT20, will be eager for more success. Front on and skiddy in action, the right-armer is often enough the welcoming recipient of sideways movement off even the most docile of decks.
<b>Last Five Head-To-Head Results</b><BR>World Cup, Group B: March 2011: West Indies won by nine wickets in Dhaka<BR>Third ODI: July 2009: Bangladesh won by three wickets in St Kitts<BR>Second ODI: July 2009: Bangladesh won by three wickets in Dominica<BR>First ODI: July 2009: Bangladesh won by 52 runs in Dominica<BR>World Cup, Super Eights: April 2007: West Indies won by 99 runs in Barbados
<b>Prediction</b><br>In somewhat of a pseudo battle of the minnows, Bangladesh will cash in on homeground advantage and take it two-one.
Online betting firm <a href='http://www.skybet.com/betting/cricket/c30.html' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><B>Sky Bet</B></a> has Bangladesh at 15/8 in the <a href='http://www.skybet.com/betting/cricket/c30.html' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><B>betting</B></a> for overall series victory. Visit Sky Bet for the latest cricket betting.
<b>Squads</b><br><i>Bangladesh:</i> Mushfiqur Rahim (captain, wicketkeeper), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib Al Hasan, Alok Kapali, Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Shahriar Nafees, Shuvagoto Hom.
<i>West Indies:</i> Darren Sammy (captain), Adrian Barath, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Danza Hyatt, Anthony Martin, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons.
<b>Fixtures</b><br>First ODI: 13 October – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka<BR>Second ODI: 15 October – Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka<BR>Third ODI: 18 October – Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
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