Bangladesh eye rise in ODI rankings
With one eye on the ICC ODI rankings, Bangladesh spin bowling coach Ruwan Kalpage hinted that they are unlikely to tinker with their winning combination for the third and final ODI against Pakistan. He also stressed that gaining automatic qualification for the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2019 World Cup were their short and long-term targets.
"It is important for us to better our one-day ranking," Kalpage said. "So this is not the time to do experiments. We are always looking forward to the ranking. I think the game tomorrow is really important for Bangladesh and it is important for the team to win every game at the moment.
"That way we can only come up in one-day ranking. I think it is a good opportunity and if we have this winning combination going, it is good for the future of the Bangladesh one-day team."
Currently ninth in the table, Bangladesh gained three rating points after taking a 2-0 lead in the series and will reach 81 points if they can make it 3-0. After a meeting in November last year, the ICC confirmed that the top eight sides on the team rankings on September 30 in 2015 will qualify for Champions Trophy in England in 2017.
The cut-off date for the 2019 World Cup - also in England - is set for 30 September in 2017. The top-eight ranked sides at the time will automatically qualify to the ten-team tournament, while the ninth and 10th ranked ones will play in a qualifying tournament to be held in Bangladesh in 2018.
Bangladesh are scheduled to play an ODI series against India and South Africa at home after the current ODI series against Pakistan but ahead of the September 30 cut-off for the Champions Trophy.
However, if Bangladesh decide to make changes, they would have to pick from - Mominul Haque, Abul Hasan and the uncapped opening batsman Rony Talukdar. Abul was tried in the first ODI but he couldn't find a wicket in five overs, and was benched once captain Mashrafe Mortaza served out his one-match suspension. Unless there's an injury concern in the top-order, Mominul and Rony are doubtful starters.
Kalpage feels that the current line-up is well balanced, particularly with Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain bowling regularly and also hopes that Sabbir Rahman will bolster this allrounders' list in the T20Is.
"When picking a team you have to make sure it is balanced and the captain has more options. In the last match, other than [Arafat] Sunny and Shakib [Al Hasan], none of them bowled ten overs.
"As a team we have done really well so when the captain has options, it is good for the team. Shakib and Nasir [Hossain] playing as batsman who can also bowl well, it is really good for the team. We are hoping to get Sabbir [Rahman] also to bowl to power the T20 team so then we will have three good batsmen who can also bowl well setting a good balance," Kalpage added.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84