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November 30, 2011
Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal should be fit to play in the first ODI against Pakistan, team coach Stuart Law has said. Tamim was forced out of the only T20 game between the sides at the last minute because of a knee injury, but Law said the knee had "responded well to the treatment and at this point it looks that he [Tamim] can take his place in the top order".
Tamim's absence for the T20 meant Naeem Islam opened alongside Imrul Kayes, while Alok Kapali batted at No.3, where he made a three-ball duck. Law admitted that last-minute changes in the batting line-up tended to destablise a side, but said rather than seeing it as a negative that Kapali had to be pushed up the order, it was more of a "positive because it's an opportunity for him to play in the side and get a opportunity to bat and its unfortunate the way it worked out last night".
Law did not blame the wicket for Bangladesh's poor batting performance, saying that while it wasn't what they expected, it was understandable given how much cricket had been played at Mirpur over the last three weeks.
"There has to be some self blame in there as well," Law said. "We have to be able to score runs under difficult conditions to be able to beat good teams around the world."
Bangladesh lost the T20 by 50 runs and Law said it would be tough to beat a Pakistan team that was coming off a confidence-boosting tour against Sri Lanka in the UAE, where Pakistan claimed series wins in all three formats. At the same time, he said Bangladesh was not there simply to make up the numbers.
"We are not here to lose and not here to go into the series thinking that we can't compete. We are into the series putting our plans together and if we can stick to the plans and play good cricket, anything is possible.
"It's going to be tough. They had a very good series win against Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankans have got some great players in their line up. We know that we have to play very good cricket to beat Pakistan. But we can't think this way. We should be thinking that we should put scores up in the board and defend totals and fight them the way we really need to. Pakistan are a world-class team. If we can start emulating them then that would be really good."
Pakistan are riding a rich vein of form at the moment, and Younis Khan said that if the batting keeps clicking alongside the bowling, then they could win every series they play.
"The good thing about these youngsters is that they want to learn," Younis said. "Guys like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, they've already performed in the top level so I think our future in batting looks very bright at the moment.
"I think we have a good combination of young and old. Especially in the bowling, the bowling wins you matches. We have a lot of quality spinners now in [Saeed] Ajmal, [Shoaib] Malik, [Mohammad] Hafeez, and [Shahid] Afridi. And also a very good pace attack with Aizaz Cheema, Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir. So that's why I think we are winning matches consistently now."
Still, he was not prepared to completely write-off Bangladesh's chances in the series. "In international games you have to take the opposition seriously. After the series you can say weather it was an easy series or a hard one. I think it will be a good one."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Also, best post-war win/loss record, most runs in two calendar years, most ducks in a Test, and brothers with similar numbers
It's close to inexplicable how India's best spinner is being left out in favour of bits-and-pieces players