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The Preview by Siddhartha Talya
October 4, 2010
Match FactsTuesday, October 5, Mirpur
The Big Picture
This tour was originally meant to include Tests. But the teams agreed to focus on preparations for the World Cup next year, and opted to play five ODIs instead. For New Zealand, this marks a continuation of their exposure to subcontinental conditions ahead of the big tournament. They were involved in a tri-series in Sri Lanka in July, play five ODIs this series and five more on the tour of India next month which also includes three Tests. By mid-December, New Zealand will have played each of the World Cup co-hosts on their own turf, an ideal lead-up to the event in February. By then they would hope to have settled on their preferred line-up amid some success, especially after the disappointing Sri Lanka tri-series where they failed to reach the final. Their preparation for this tour, however, has been far from ideal, with rain washing out both their practice games. But their opponents have more reasons for concern.
Bangladesh have pulled off the odd surprise since they became part of the cricketing elite, including a five-run win this year against England, but the 'minnows' tag continues to haunt them. So many years on, Bangladesh's occasional victories only re-ignite the belief - both within the country and from their wellwishers in the cricketing fraternity - that they are destined for bigger things. Then the flame flickers again. They have won only two and lost 17 ODIs this year, and are without the injured Tamim Iqbal as they seek to challenge their opponents more consistently.
Form guide(five latest completed matches, starting with most recent)
Watch out for...
Jesse Ryder missed the ODIs in Sri Lanka with an elbow injury but drinking problems returned to trouble him in July when he was fined for "intoxicated and rowdy behaviour". He subsequently apologised and will make a comeback on this tour. An explosive opening batsman, Ryder has won many admirers but needs to retain his focus on cricket if he wishes to be part of New Zealand's World Cup plans.
Daniel Vettori singled out Shakib Al Hasan as New Zealand's biggest threat. The two have much in common; both are allrounders, hugely influential to their teams' performance and often have to carry a disproportionate amount of responsibility. Shakib, though, is no longer captain. While there is presumably lesser pressure as a result, Bangladesh's challenge is for the others to step up and ease his burden.
New Zealand are without allrounder Scott Styris, who is out of the series with a back injury. The upcoming ten ODIs, including the tour of India, give them an opportunity to test some new players ahead of the World Cup. They've drafted in Canterbury fast bowler Hamish Bennett in their squad. They can also experiment with BJ Watling at the top of the order while Kane Williamson, who managed just 13 runs in four innings with two ducks in the tri-series in Sri Lanka, will aim for an improvement.
New Zealand (possible): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Brendon McCullum (wk), 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Grant Elliott, 5 Kane Williamson, 6 Shannan Stewart, 7 Daniel Vettori (capt), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Daryl Tuffey
Shahriar Nafees is likely to replace Tamim at the top of the order for Bangaldesh.
Bangladesh (possible): 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Jahurul Islam, 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 9 Shafiul Islam, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Abdur Razzak
Stats and trivia
"We are going to get the best possible warm-up and any game time in the subcontinent is going to make a huge difference to our chances in the World Cup."
The BCCI set up a three-man committee to tackle the problem of chucking at age-group and domestic cricket, and it has produced significant results in five years
The board's latest standoff with its players has had embarrassing consequences internationally, so any resolution now needs to be approached thoughtfully
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala
West Indies may have formally played the fourth ODI in Dharamsala but their fielding suggested their minds were already on the flight back home
Individual rivalries in team sports can be productive or destructive. Jealousy may have spurred Pietersen the batsman, but at the cost of the team's image
Players demanding that home pitches should be prepared to favour them don't realise it's a retaliatory business
ESPNcricinfo runs the rule over the preparation of all 16 Australia players ahead of the first Test, which starts in Dubai on Wednesday
What Australia have not done since returning a fractured unit from India is head back to Asia to play an Asian team. Two of their major weaknesses - handling spin and reverse swing - will be tested in the UAE by Pakistan