Bangladesh v Pakistan, Asia Cup final, Mirpur March 21, 2012

Bangladesh have improved a lot - Younis Khan


Since the end of the World Cup, Pakistan are the only one among the four Asian Test nations to have a record to be proud of. India had their disasters in England and Australia, Sri Lanka haven't won a series of note in a year, and Bangladesh faced the ignominy of losing to Zimbabwe. Pakistan, meanwhile, were winning nearly everything they played.

It has been a year in which they have moved away from their traditional fast-bowling dominated attack to one in which spinners are the bigger threats, a year in which pragmatic batting has become more and more common instead of the pyrotechnics of earlier. At the end of a success-filled season, they also get the chance to change their pedestrian record in the Asia Cup, which they have only won once despite decades of trying.

The only team standing in their way is Bangladesh, who have beaten them only once, back in the 1999 World Cup. This Bangladesh side, though, aren't like the also-rans of the past. Showing a resilience that was missing in the past, and starting to shed an over-reliance on a couple of star players, Bangladesh have claimed big scalps in India and Sri Lanka this tournament, and nearly beat Pakistan as well.

Younis Khan said Bangladesh deserved a spot in the final. "They have improved a lot," he said. "They have some aggressiveness in their body language and that helps to bring about positive results. That is the way an international team should play."

Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's best player over the past few years, was the Man of the Match in both of Bangladesh's victories. Those successes came only because even after Shakib was dismissed the other batsmen didn't fold and nervelessly took the side past the finish line.

"They play good as a group, not individually," Younis said. "If you see the last two games when they won against India and Sri Lanka, they performed as a group. All the bowlers, all the batsmen and all the fielders, they put in their 100%. This is the key thing about their performance."

One thing that has helped Bangladesh is that they have chased in every match of the tournament. Mahela Jayawardene had jokingly suggested the captains should practise tossing coins, as the Mirpur track has generally favoured the team batting second in this tournament. India completed their highest successful chase in ODIs, against Pakistan on Sunday, while Bangladesh have also been solid in hunting down totals. "The management will think of something, maybe we will chase tomorrow," Younis said. "But Bangladesh are good chasers, this is their plus point."

Unusually, Pakistan are the team that has made the least headlines this tournament. Bangladesh's heroics, Sachin Tendulkar's 100th 100, Virat Kohli's masterful 183 and Sri Lanka's listless performance have been discussed threadbare while Pakistan have managed to generally stay under the radar. Tomorrow, they will be hoping to feature in the headline that matters.

Edited by Abhishek Purohit

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 23, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    @salar afridi: If Afghanistan can become a world class team in 2 years then they are better then BD and offcourse better then Pak and any other nations of the world. Cricket is not like piece of a cake, countries take years and sometime decades to became world class. Cant believe a Pakistani dont know cricketing history, so sad. Look back to your own history. And keep in mind what u said one sided friendly, bcoz it will help u understand your irrelevancy. U forgot last visit by bangladesh. I understand why. bcoz tigers makes u fear them. It will be worst for you next time. Best of luck.

  • Hassan on March 22, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    I could not find any reference to Younis Khan suggesting Bangladesh should be dropped from test status. As a matter of fact he did not even suggest Afghanistan should be given test status. Some folks are suggesting it is coming from Waqar Younis which is also incorrect. I do not know where this is coming from. Someone trying to make Pakistan and Bangladesh fight? lol. I know these people suggest Ireland should replace Bangladesh. I disagree. Ireland neither has organized cricket like Bangladesh, nor a fan base like it. The problem of Bangladesh had always been body language, and as Younis Khan pointed, that is changing, bringing different results. Afghanistan has the right body language from day one, and that is why some hope it will be a test level team in 2-3 years.

  • V.L on March 22, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    I agree with Younis.I was bamboozled by their tight bowling and sharp fielding. This is not the Bangladesh we knew. Bravo Bangladesh. Well played. If they maintain this level of intensity they will be in the reckoning with the top teams. From an Indian fan.

  • Balkrishna on March 22, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Not correct.. Pakistan were drubbed 4-0 by england in ODIs.. all teams have mixed results.. pakistan were not exposed to testing conditions like aus, eng, rsa.. so they look better than others..

  • Naeem on March 22, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    good to see BD rising above the useless team's tag, they are competing ncie and we in Pakistan welcome this and dont take it as lightly as before as cricket. having said this is just a game and not more than tat for us. Politics is and should not be the part of this game. Pakistan zindabad

  • JAFRUL on March 22, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Men ! Don't be crazy ! Cricket is a game of funs not boxing. Like all Bangladeshis I am also excited and appreciate very much the TEAM efforts , we have no CRICKET GODS and definitely continue to create GODS not because we have no capability but because GODS like KOHLI ( cricket fans will remember his reaction after making fifty against Pakistan ) will destroy the spirit of this fantastic entertaining game. For us records , history etc are irrelevant we are concerned with the entertainments our team can offer us in any particular contest, when you guys are busy with the records , history , Afghanistan , Namibia etc. etc. we are just enjoying the excitements that we beat World champ India ,SL and facing in final with Pakistan , you guys let us to enjoy now , you men will have enough time to make jokes if you like but we will just ignore and look forward our good days !! Be happy you Pakistani and Indian guys . By the way let me express my sincere gratitudes to all who desr

  • Balkrishna on March 22, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Not correct.. Pakistan were drubbed 4-0 by england in ODIs.. all teams have mixed results.. pakistan were not exposed to testing conditions like aus, eng, rsa.. so they look better than others..

  • Shabbir on March 22, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Lool guys there are three things going on herer at the moment:

    1) BAN tour of PAK. Yes PAK do NEED BAN to support them to give them a step back onto international cricket. The ill informed fans who are saying something to the contrary know nothing else.

    2) Afghan as a test playing nation - They are a neighbour of Pakistan and require more support for their cause. So if AFGHAN become a test playing nation it will help PAK. However no other country is suggesting giving AFGHAN as chance only the PAK's.

    3) PAK v BAN - of course PAK are the favourite but so was IND and SL in their respective matches against BAN. BAN nearly casued an upset against PAK last time so PAK's must be weary - don't get too overconfident as BAN may cause a surprise. Then Mr Khan can give a second interview.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    @chindra bindu ... Same goes for Tendulkar :D :D :D :D

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2012, 5:55 GMT

    I am a Pakistani, but looking after the outstanding performances of Bangladesh I am really on their side.

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