Bangladesh news January 7, 2014

Openers, pace bowlers worry Mushfiqur

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Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim wants his opening batsmen and pace bowlers to make best use of the two longer-version matches later this month. The Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL), a first-class competition that starts next week, will provide the players match practice ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka, even if they get just two games each.

It will be the players' first taste of first-class cricket since the second Test of the home series against New Zealand nearly three months ago and Mushfiqur believes the longer format is the best place for Bangladesh to improve in two vital areas. Bangladesh's second opener and fast bowlers were ordinary against New Zealand, and he is worried that the middle order and the spinners will come under pressure if the trend continues.

Two partnerships of 39 were the best that the openers managed against New Zealand. Tamim Iqbal scored two half-centuries but Anamul Haque had a poor outing, which brought his place under question. Mushfiqur isn't keen on dumping Anamul but wants to see the young opener, who is averaging just 10.66 in three Tests, return to form.

"There's nothing better than match practice," Mushfiqur said. "BCL has the four best teams, which means the level of cricket will be quite good, and competitive. We haven't played Test cricket for a long time, so it will definitely help us. In terms of batting, we want the top-order give us a good start.

"Sometimes the entire batting line-up doesn't click so it is important to give a good start; what if there's a lower-order collapse? Tamim and [Anamul Haque] Bijoy know what to do. Bijoy in fact did well recently in the Twenty20 tournament, so I am hopeful of them coming good together."

Tamim has led a lone battle at the top of the order since scoring 53 and 84 on debut against New Zealand in 2008. Starting with those two innings in Dunedin, he has made 18 out of 21 scores of 50 or more by Bangladesh's openers, which includes all four of their centuries.

Tamim - and Bangladesh's openers, consequently - hasn't scored a century since his 103 at Old Trafford in June 2010. The last fifty to come from an opener other than Tamim was Nazimuddin's 78 against Pakistan in December 2011, but he has faded away swiftly since. The last 100-plus opening partnership came more than three years ago when Tamim and Imrul Kayes did it twice against England in 2010. Kayes isn't on the scene anymore but has been among the runs in domestic cricket recently.

Fast bowling is Mushfiqur's other concern. While Robiul Islam gave a glimmer of hope with his Man-of-the-Series performance in Zimbabwe, the same can't be said about the other seamers. Robiul was injured in the New Zealand series, prompting the team management to rest him for the second Test and the subsequent limited-overs leg. Over the two Tests, Rubel Hossain and Al-Amin Hossain took just two wickets in 60 overs.

Rubel, however, bowled well in the ODIs against New Zealand, famously picking up a hat-trick in a six-wicket haul in the first game. Al-Amin too has been in the news with his bowling in Twenty20s. But they need to come good in Test cricket, where Rubel averages 78 per wicket and Al-Amin has bowled in just one innings.

"The pace bowlers too need some work," Mushfiqur said. "There will be enough opportunities to better these areas in the two matches, and the practice sessions afterwards.

"We will look at pace bowling closely. They have to take at least eight of the 20 wickets needed to win a Test match. Otherwise the opponent will be planning very well against spin. [Robiul Islam] Shiplu bowled well away from home, Rubel [Hossain] is doing well and we also have Al-Amin [Hossain]. Even if they don't take wickets and just bowl economically, that would really help us."

In 2013, the selectors tried seven pace bowlers, of whom Robiul topped the wicket charts. Abul Hasan is on an extended injury layoff while Shahadat Hossain and Sajedul Islam were risked for just one Test each. Curiously, they have kept aside Ziaur Rahman, a seam-bowling allrounder who took four wickets in his debut Test in Zimbabwe. He has been labelled a limited-overs player, but Ziaur has shown a knack of contributing when it matters. Although a knee injury has cut down his pace drastically, he can still do a holding job in home conditions, with the added advantage of batting in the lower order.

Bangladesh's other source of confidence, according to Mushfiqur, is their recent record against Sri Lanka. The drawn Galle Test was the first between the two sides, after 12 straight Sri Lankan wins. Bangladesh also beat them at home in an ODI for the first time, levelling the 3-match ODI series.

"There isn't any fear factor," Mushfiqur said. "They have a good record against us but we are confident after doing well in their conditions last year. We now believe that we can do well against them. Throughout last year we have played well, so this is a chance for us to start the New Year on a good note."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY i_golam on | January 11, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    SL is having a fine tour against Pakistan now .... so BD must be at their best level if they want to achieve better results against SL ! I think Bangladesh have some well known name in their team & it is a great opportunity for them & for the hole team to bring upp their best & perform some great cricket and give the country some good results !!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    This is good for BD cricket. I am very happy to see BCB is directing in right way along with some ex cricketers.

  • POSTED BY on | January 9, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    @hasib 9 I completely agree with you. Shamsur Rahman have to wait for getting chance in test. I think Junaed siddique or imrul kayes now will be good choice for 2nd oppener.

  • POSTED BY Bangladesh_Forever on | January 9, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    Everyone knows pace is our problem. Unless Bangladesh regularize its domestic competitions and prepare sporting wickets (like the one seen in Sylhet in few recent T20 matches) the problem will remains so. To arrange big international tournaments compromising domestic schedule might get you some pats in the back (not sure about the money) but definitely won't give you consistent players. Especially when you get to play even lesser number of games than a bilateral series. (Just look at the ridiculous fixture for the world T20I- if accidentally BD can't make it to the 2nd round the players will have to just sit out the whole time.) BCB must be more active to earn more bilateral games from other boards.

  • POSTED BY mainul079080 on | January 9, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    @chapathishot.Frankly speaking, Indian pacers are lot better than Bangladeshis.Any of Bangladeshi pacers wont be even compareble to Kapil, Srinath, Jahir, Shami, Prasad. Bangladeshi batsmen and spinners are decent enough to win matches. But pace bowling department is so so weak.

  • POSTED BY on | January 9, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    Our middle order is actually quite good if you compare it to other countries however like Mushi said, pacers and Top order are super weak. Tamim , Naeem, Marshall are the top order. Gazi, Robiul, Zia/Mahmadullah/Razzak, Nazmul should be the lower order. I really want to see Nazmul back and seeing Robiul and him in tandem looks super promising on pitches assisting pace. However I want to see spinning tracks regardless of oopposition.

  • POSTED BY TheRisingTeam on | January 9, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Problem with Anamul is his very poor footwork and faulty technique. Unless he somehow corrected that, he is definitely not ready and was clearly rushed into the national side. I think he should definitely be part of Bangladesh's T20 plans and maybe ODIs but definitely not for tests. Instead, Jahurul can be that number 2 guy in tests since he can occupy the crease for long periods. Main batsman like Tamim and Shakib need to value their wicket more. Bowling for tests should ideally be Gazi, Abul, Robiul and Al-Amin.

  • POSTED BY on | January 8, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    Robiul, Al amin and Zia or robiul zia and forhad reza should come in for the pace attach. Gazi and shakib are good for the spin attack. razzak is not good at all in the test cricket. Sunny could be a third choice if they want to play with 3 specialist spinners. In this case I would go with Zia, and forhad reza in addition to robiul since forhad reza can bat too. Tamim, Zohurul, Shakib, Mominul, Rahim, Nasir, Marshal/naeem, Zia, forhad Reza/sunny/al-amin, Gazi, Robiul.

  • POSTED BY P.BIPULKUMAR on | January 8, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    Where is Nazmul ? Anamul should give more chances in all three format among top three batting order ...

  • POSTED BY on | January 8, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    nayeem should open in coming bcl and should prove a real test opener than anamul or else shamsur should open....and razzak should dropped..and forhad reza should come in...robiul and al amin should play.....

  • POSTED BY i_golam on | January 11, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    SL is having a fine tour against Pakistan now .... so BD must be at their best level if they want to achieve better results against SL ! I think Bangladesh have some well known name in their team & it is a great opportunity for them & for the hole team to bring upp their best & perform some great cricket and give the country some good results !!!

  • POSTED BY on | January 10, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    This is good for BD cricket. I am very happy to see BCB is directing in right way along with some ex cricketers.

  • POSTED BY on | January 9, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    @hasib 9 I completely agree with you. Shamsur Rahman have to wait for getting chance in test. I think Junaed siddique or imrul kayes now will be good choice for 2nd oppener.

  • POSTED BY Bangladesh_Forever on | January 9, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    Everyone knows pace is our problem. Unless Bangladesh regularize its domestic competitions and prepare sporting wickets (like the one seen in Sylhet in few recent T20 matches) the problem will remains so. To arrange big international tournaments compromising domestic schedule might get you some pats in the back (not sure about the money) but definitely won't give you consistent players. Especially when you get to play even lesser number of games than a bilateral series. (Just look at the ridiculous fixture for the world T20I- if accidentally BD can't make it to the 2nd round the players will have to just sit out the whole time.) BCB must be more active to earn more bilateral games from other boards.

  • POSTED BY mainul079080 on | January 9, 2014, 3:24 GMT

    @chapathishot.Frankly speaking, Indian pacers are lot better than Bangladeshis.Any of Bangladeshi pacers wont be even compareble to Kapil, Srinath, Jahir, Shami, Prasad. Bangladeshi batsmen and spinners are decent enough to win matches. But pace bowling department is so so weak.

  • POSTED BY on | January 9, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    Our middle order is actually quite good if you compare it to other countries however like Mushi said, pacers and Top order are super weak. Tamim , Naeem, Marshall are the top order. Gazi, Robiul, Zia/Mahmadullah/Razzak, Nazmul should be the lower order. I really want to see Nazmul back and seeing Robiul and him in tandem looks super promising on pitches assisting pace. However I want to see spinning tracks regardless of oopposition.

  • POSTED BY TheRisingTeam on | January 9, 2014, 0:19 GMT

    Problem with Anamul is his very poor footwork and faulty technique. Unless he somehow corrected that, he is definitely not ready and was clearly rushed into the national side. I think he should definitely be part of Bangladesh's T20 plans and maybe ODIs but definitely not for tests. Instead, Jahurul can be that number 2 guy in tests since he can occupy the crease for long periods. Main batsman like Tamim and Shakib need to value their wicket more. Bowling for tests should ideally be Gazi, Abul, Robiul and Al-Amin.

  • POSTED BY on | January 8, 2014, 22:46 GMT

    Robiul, Al amin and Zia or robiul zia and forhad reza should come in for the pace attach. Gazi and shakib are good for the spin attack. razzak is not good at all in the test cricket. Sunny could be a third choice if they want to play with 3 specialist spinners. In this case I would go with Zia, and forhad reza in addition to robiul since forhad reza can bat too. Tamim, Zohurul, Shakib, Mominul, Rahim, Nasir, Marshal/naeem, Zia, forhad Reza/sunny/al-amin, Gazi, Robiul.

  • POSTED BY P.BIPULKUMAR on | January 8, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    Where is Nazmul ? Anamul should give more chances in all three format among top three batting order ...

  • POSTED BY on | January 8, 2014, 18:42 GMT

    nayeem should open in coming bcl and should prove a real test opener than anamul or else shamsur should open....and razzak should dropped..and forhad reza should come in...robiul and al amin should play.....

  • POSTED BY hasib9 on | January 8, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    Bangladesh's best fast bowling option for test is to include Robiul, Ziaur, and Farhad Reza. Go with 5 bowlers instead of 4. Reza and Zia can bat, and so can Gazi and Shakib. Battin lineup will be ok as long as Anamul is dropped from the test side and Shamsur is given a chance. Rubel or Al-Amin are actually hopeless in the longer format.

  • POSTED BY Warm_Coffee on | January 8, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    Sri Lanka will be thoroughly prepared compared to use since they already playing 3 tests against quality oppositions whereas our boys playing 2 first class games with average players. It looks clear to me the pitches will be flat as Sri Lanka are one of the best teams of spin and already tearing through Pakistan batting line up on a seaming pitch. Our players must not be complacent and play good Cricket in order to avoid defeat. Rahim is right though Bangladesh are struggling to find right players for 2 and 3 and fast bowling is below ordinary. Why would you have Rubel with an average of almost 80? :D

  • POSTED BY on | January 8, 2014, 10:54 GMT

    @tauhid_aks i agree with @Albert_cambell Sakib is the only international standard player in the team. And no Musfiq is nowhere close to that. I am a fanatic Tiger supporter, but until we stop glorifying mediocre performances we will only win against teams 8 to10. I believe Nasir and Mominul are young player that have the potential to get to that level. Love their grit and competitiveness.

  • POSTED BY M_Rakibul_Islam on | January 8, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    @ Albert_cambell: Nasir has already played international cricket for around 2.5 years. He played against several top teams. But his per4mance is quite impressive (averaging 45+ in tests & 43+ in ODIs). So ur prediction about Momin is yet to b proven but prediction about Nasir is wrong. And Tamim hasn't scored runs with reckless shots vs Kiwis last year. U also probably forgot his dazzling pre4mance in England in summer 2010.

  • POSTED BY chapathishot on | January 8, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    mainul079080: India have won many matches without any bowling at all ,so batting also can win you matches especially limited over cricket.So it is not fast bowlers ,lack of good batsmen also which is affecting BD

  • POSTED BY Rafelgibt on | January 8, 2014, 9:24 GMT

    I think Johurul Islam should open with Tamim as Anamul is still not fit for TESTs.Then the order should be like- Marshall Ayub, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Shohag Gazi, Enamul Jnr, Robiul Islam, Al Amin and rest of the squad would be-Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Elias Sunny, Mehrab Jnr. Regardless the ODI best 11 should be like- Tamim, Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Shakib al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nasir Hossain, Mahmudullah Riad, Abdur Razzak, Ziaur Rahman, Mashrafee Mortaza, Al Amin and rest of the squad would be-Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Sohag Gazi and Sabbir Rahman.

  • POSTED BY tauhid_aks on | January 8, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    @Albert Campbell, no international standard players other than Shakib? What about Mushfiqur Rahim? Please try to open your eyes and view Bangladesh in an open minded manner. We have a young team who have been improving over the past couple of years despite the limited chances they have got. And Nasir Hossain has been playing consistent cricket for more than two years now, though he played in less matches due to Bangladesh not playing too many. It is a bit harsh to make him fall in the category of Uthappa, who has just one or two innings of note.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 8, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Albert Campbell bro please no negative thoughts. Also as far as openers are concerned, Tamim-Anamul or Tamim-Shahriar Nafees seems about the right combination. Nasir and Mominul are Alhmadulillah great finds. Shafiul and Nazmul should be the pacers in the squad. NAZMUL HAS SWING AS GOOD AS MITCHELL JOHNSON! Now that's a comparison you gotta consider.

  • POSTED BY Albert_cambell on | January 8, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    The problem with BD is they dont have international standard players(Except for Shakib). Tamim scores runs mainly due to his reckless shot making. Quite often he proved to be inconsistent. Nassir and Mominul had a great start to their career but I cant say how are they going to fare in the future. I have seen some other young players around the world(eg. Uthappa, Kaif, Ashwell Prince, Mathew Sinclair) who had great start to their career but they disappeared once the bowlers found out their weakness. So I wont be surprised if this happens to Mominul and Nassir in the future.

  • POSTED BY mainul079080 on | January 8, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Bangladesh has only one weakness which stands as a bar between them and major forces of world cricket. That is, they dont have any stricking or match winning fast bowler.If anybody can give us one Stein/Johnson/Irfan i can give everything that i have in exchange (Jo chahe le lo, ek fast bowler de do) .Love you Bangladesh....

  • POSTED BY on | January 7, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    We shall see what Bangladesh do at home vs Sri Lanka and now we should have a full strength team. Although this time the difference maybe Sangakarra (again) and Herath.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 7, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    Really think Shahadat and Shafiul and Nazmul should get a go in the BCL... I think these three guys together.can do wonder! BCB please consider this option!

  • POSTED BY SamWintson92 on | January 7, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    a) For the opening combination, I'll go with Tamim-Anamul. Shamsur Rahman is also a strong contender. I also want Shahriar Nafees in the mix too. b) I don't understand how on earth the name of Abul Hasan even comes in the consideration. Let's a look at his records: 11 wickets in 12 FC matches averaging 82 & 3 wickets in 3 tests averaging 123. Terrible ! List A & T20s are also same sort of, way expensive too. c) Pacer Subhashish Roy has got pretty decent stats. He should make the squad. d) The pace department in the squad should comprise Robiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain & Shubhashish Roy. Shafiul Islam also in the pool.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | January 7, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    Be confident bd team. We will win Insha Allah

  • POSTED BY on | January 7, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    Tamim, Johurl are the best for opening. Johurul can stay at the crease for longer time and hid footwork is much better thean Anamul. My best 11: Tamim, Johurul, Marshal, Mominul, Shakib, Rahim, Nasir, Zia, Gazi, Rubel, Al-amin.

    Pacers: Rubel, Zia, Al-amin. Spin: shakib (leg) Gazi (off) Part timer: Nasir, mominul upto zia we got 8 batsman

  • POSTED BY cricsayemsambd on | January 7, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    so this is a chance for us to start the New Year on a good note."

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  • POSTED BY cricsayemsambd on | January 7, 2014, 19:08 GMT

    so this is a chance for us to start the New Year on a good note."

  • POSTED BY on | January 7, 2014, 19:10 GMT

    Tamim, Johurl are the best for opening. Johurul can stay at the crease for longer time and hid footwork is much better thean Anamul. My best 11: Tamim, Johurul, Marshal, Mominul, Shakib, Rahim, Nasir, Zia, Gazi, Rubel, Al-amin.

    Pacers: Rubel, Zia, Al-amin. Spin: shakib (leg) Gazi (off) Part timer: Nasir, mominul upto zia we got 8 batsman

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | January 7, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    Be confident bd team. We will win Insha Allah

  • POSTED BY SamWintson92 on | January 7, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    a) For the opening combination, I'll go with Tamim-Anamul. Shamsur Rahman is also a strong contender. I also want Shahriar Nafees in the mix too. b) I don't understand how on earth the name of Abul Hasan even comes in the consideration. Let's a look at his records: 11 wickets in 12 FC matches averaging 82 & 3 wickets in 3 tests averaging 123. Terrible ! List A & T20s are also same sort of, way expensive too. c) Pacer Subhashish Roy has got pretty decent stats. He should make the squad. d) The pace department in the squad should comprise Robiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain & Shubhashish Roy. Shafiul Islam also in the pool.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 7, 2014, 21:58 GMT

    Really think Shahadat and Shafiul and Nazmul should get a go in the BCL... I think these three guys together.can do wonder! BCB please consider this option!

  • POSTED BY on | January 7, 2014, 22:54 GMT

    We shall see what Bangladesh do at home vs Sri Lanka and now we should have a full strength team. Although this time the difference maybe Sangakarra (again) and Herath.

  • POSTED BY mainul079080 on | January 8, 2014, 3:16 GMT

    Bangladesh has only one weakness which stands as a bar between them and major forces of world cricket. That is, they dont have any stricking or match winning fast bowler.If anybody can give us one Stein/Johnson/Irfan i can give everything that i have in exchange (Jo chahe le lo, ek fast bowler de do) .Love you Bangladesh....

  • POSTED BY Albert_cambell on | January 8, 2014, 5:26 GMT

    The problem with BD is they dont have international standard players(Except for Shakib). Tamim scores runs mainly due to his reckless shot making. Quite often he proved to be inconsistent. Nassir and Mominul had a great start to their career but I cant say how are they going to fare in the future. I have seen some other young players around the world(eg. Uthappa, Kaif, Ashwell Prince, Mathew Sinclair) who had great start to their career but they disappeared once the bowlers found out their weakness. So I wont be surprised if this happens to Mominul and Nassir in the future.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 8, 2014, 6:30 GMT

    Albert Campbell bro please no negative thoughts. Also as far as openers are concerned, Tamim-Anamul or Tamim-Shahriar Nafees seems about the right combination. Nasir and Mominul are Alhmadulillah great finds. Shafiul and Nazmul should be the pacers in the squad. NAZMUL HAS SWING AS GOOD AS MITCHELL JOHNSON! Now that's a comparison you gotta consider.

  • POSTED BY tauhid_aks on | January 8, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    @Albert Campbell, no international standard players other than Shakib? What about Mushfiqur Rahim? Please try to open your eyes and view Bangladesh in an open minded manner. We have a young team who have been improving over the past couple of years despite the limited chances they have got. And Nasir Hossain has been playing consistent cricket for more than two years now, though he played in less matches due to Bangladesh not playing too many. It is a bit harsh to make him fall in the category of Uthappa, who has just one or two innings of note.