June 12, 2003

Bangladesh select their lambs for the slaughter

Wisden CricInfo staff

Bangladesh have announced a squad of 15 for their two-Test tour of Australia later this month, a series that cricket fans and Bangladesh players are anticipating with little short of dread. The one surprise is the recall of the former captain Khaled Mashud, who had been sacked after the World Cup for allegedly setting a bad example on and off the field. Khaled Mahmud will lead the side.

Amid all the recriminations and politicking that have followed that disastrous World Cup campaign, the show has to go on. Bangladesh have lost 18 of their 19 Tests to date, 13 by an innings. Australia, on the other hand, have won 29 of their 38 matches since the turn of the decade.

It promises to be the most unequal struggle between bat and ball since Australia's bowlers took on the media in a net session at Port Elizabeth during the World Cup. Only an un-Australian display of mercy can prevent a glut of records being smashed in the coming weeks.

After publicly admitting that the appointment of the Pakistani Mohsin Kamal was a mistake, Bangladesh have at least found themselves a coach who is familiar both with Australia and with the art of victory. But even Dav Whatmore, a former Australian Test cricketer and Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning coach, will be hard-pressed to salvage anything from what is arguably the most one-sided international event in history.

Squad Khaled Mahmud (capt), Javed Omar, Khaled Mashud, Habibul Bashar, Mohammad Rafique, Hannan Sarker, Mohammad Ashraful, Al-Sahariar, Manjural Islam, Alok Kapali, Sanwar Hossain, Tareq Aziz, Tapash Baisya, Anwar Hossain Monir, Mashrafe Mortaza.

Tushar Imran and Habibul Hossain are to join the team later for the one-day matches.