Bangladesh news March 11, 2014

Mortaza in race to get fit for World T20

With very few decent replacements to choose from and plenty of questions about who can effectively use the new ball, Bangladesh will pin their hopes on Mashrafe Mortaza recovering from a side strain at the earliest
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Mashrafe Mortaza is in a race against time to get fit ahead of Bangladesh's World T20 opener against Afghanistan on Sunday. He is recovering from a side strain sustained during the Asia Cup game against India two weeks ago.

With very few decent replacements to choose from and Bangladesh's attack already being rather one-dimensional, there will be a lot of hopes pinned on him recovering. Mortaza is not a great T20 bowler, in fact he has done poorly in the first six overs more often than not. But he provides inspiration: he is often injured but always comes across as giving his all; he is an intelligent presence among the bowlers, and a good sounding board for captain Mushfiqur Rahim.

Though Bangladesh's T20 bowling has been dismal in general, they put in an encouraging performance on their last T20 appearance, against Sri Lanka. Dew hampered the bowlers as they defended at total of 120 but Mortaza, as stand-in captain, led the attack ably, mixing up his bowlers to good effect. He gave every bowler one or two-over spells, ensuring none of the Sri Lanka batsmen settled against a particular bowler. Although Bangladesh lost off a last-ball boundary - it was also Mortaza's decision to ask Farhad Reza to bowl a bouncer on that delivery - it was the sort of game plan that looked effective for the bowling attack.

Whether Mushfiqur will take a similar approach is debatable, but he will be very happy should he have Mortaza's experience to fall back on against Afghanistan on March 16, in a match that is a potential banana-skin for the home side.

Mortaza's recovery is shaping up positively. Two days ago, he was reported to have been injected with cortisone to ease the pain. It did the job, and he underwent a fitness test on Tuesday, in front of Bangladesh's physio Vibhav Singh, who said he was improving every day. He has another fitness test in the next two days, and might also bowl a few overs in the warm-up game against UAE, in Fatullah on Wednesday.

"Today I am feeling better than before," Mortaza said on Tuesday. "I have bowled ten overs each in the last three days, in the nets. I have been feeling better than before. The pain is much less than the day I got hurt. I had a fitness test yesterday, where I bowled five overs. Today I bowled five overs at 80%."

However, should Mortaza not hit 100% in time, Bangladesh have trouble at the top of their bowling innings. Their biggest issue is that their overall best bowler, Shakib Al Hasan, is also their best bowler in the first six overs in T20s. He goes at 5.85 during these overs but because of his importance in the middle-overs, he has bowled less during the fielding restrictions than Mortaza and Abdur Razzak.

Mortaza has been Bangladesh's highest wicket-taker in Powerplay overs, but given his injury history and the resultant drop in pace, he could be in need of fielding protection even if he does play.

Al-Amin Hossain can be an option for Mushfiqur, having done well during the Powerplay overs in his only T20 international appearance. Though this is too small a sample size to label Al-Amin an early-overs specialist, he could be worth the risk as Rubel Hossain has taken two wickets and gone at 8.16 per over in seven innings bowled during the Powerplay. Offspinner Sohag Gazi could be another option, but then he has to bowl at a straighter line to both left-hand and right-hand batsmen, with very little margin to err in length too.

It is clear that the bowling form of Rubel, Razzak and Gazi will be vital in ensuring Shakib and Mortaza - should he play - get the best cover. Mahmudullah and Reza can come in handy, but they are Mushfiqur's second-choice attack. If they have to play without Mortaza, Shakib will have to be used prudently.

Of course, it would greatly help if one bowler stood up and grabbed a cluster of wickets. Mortaza feels that such a spark will be necessary at crucial moments during the World T20. "In the last five years, we haven't taken four or five-wicket hauls regularly," he said. "We have had to make do with combined performances.

"In an important moment, we need someone to click. We miss those performances. We have worked really hard in practice but for some reason it doesn't happen. It might be because of confidence or some other reason. I still believe that if we try hard, we will somehow go for it."

His situation is eerily similar to that in the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup. Then, he injured his knee in a league game a few weeks before the squad announcement deadline, and though he recovered somewhat, he was left out, much to his disappointment.

Recalling that setback, Mortaza said: "To be honest, it felt worse to miss the 2011 World Cup. It was the bigger tournament. But since the World T20s is being played in the backdrop of 200 million people's expectation, I want to play well, and give my 100%. I have my pride when I play for Bangladesh."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Ammo666 on | March 14, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    @MeijiMura: you must have got the answer after this BD vs Ireland warm up match now & the best of associate Ireland which i also agree with you...but anyway BD's loss against Afg was a huge upset..& they need to overcome that in upcoming matches & get back to their real standard & potential which lacked in their last two series close games & ended as unsuccessful.....

    @Jimmy Andy: you should have been clear about what did you really mean by "BD will not even qualify for T20 WC , As on 16 Afghanistan will beat BD ...." :s

  • POSTED BY on | March 14, 2014, 2:47 GMT

    Dont worry BD Fans , BD will not even qualify for T20 WC , As on 16 Afghanistan will beat BD ....

  • POSTED BY MeijiMura on | March 14, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    There is a lot of pressure on Bangladesh now. They've already lost to Afghanistan, they didn't win a game in the recent Asian Cup, they just scraped home against the UAE, a game they looked like they would lose until a last-gasp partnership saved them, and now they play Ireland - the best of the associates. Bangladesh need to lift their game in order to beat Ireland and if they want to beat Afghanistan otherwise they won't even qualify for the T20 World Cup as host - a hugely embarrassing outcome if it were to happen. Bangladesh have failed to deal with the pressure time and time again, will they finally rise to the occasion over the next week and beyond starting with today's high-pressure warm-up showdown against Ireland? It remains to be seen, but hopefully Bangladesh will start by treating Ireland, Afghanistan and others with the respect they deserve and they will be switched on from ball one. If they don't they will keep losing and Bangladesh cricket will plumb new depths.

  • POSTED BY Bdcricketdebator on | March 13, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    After horroble performance of the team against uae minnows the team should be -tamim amamul mushi sakib sabbir zia nasir razzak al amin reza rubel.

  • POSTED BY Fogu on | March 12, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    MD. Isam said it right. The match against AFG is a potential banana peel for BD. If we don't win, our test status will be questioned by the ignorants. T20 is a crap shoot game. 2 overs or a wickets can change the complexion of the game. Any team can win from any position. However, our team needs to develop a strong mindset and learn not to get under pressure. Zia is an ideal T20 palyer who should be used higher up if we get a good start or lower if we need to stabilize first. Same is true for Shakib. We need to learn to change the order based on need. Go Tigers!

  • POSTED BY Ammo666 on | March 12, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    @Smart_animesh: You will care definitely & at the same time will eat your own words you must know miracles doesn't happen again & again..poor you soon!

  • POSTED BY rsmehdihasan on | March 12, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    I think it is time for selectors to analysis the performance of Mushfiq as a captain after T20 world cup. For some unknown reasons Mushfiq is always favoring Mahmudullah. Mushfiq was not the captain like before and his performance should verify after the t20 world cup. T20 world cup squad is a total messed up. Gazi, Razzak, Mahmudullah and Mominul are not a T20 player. IT will be difficult for BD to reach main event and it will be miracle if they win against big 8. Really pathetic team for T20 world cup. We need a brave captain. I do now know what is for BD cricket future. For god sake do not want to see a test team lost against associates. Against strong teams there are little chance with this average players or different type of players.

  • POSTED BY Smart_animesh on | March 12, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Who cares?? BD will not even win against Afgans.. poor chaps...

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 12, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    taskin will better idea to replace mortaza. The wonder boy has talent he can boy ball at power play or death overs also his back from injuries. on his cone beck match his figure 4-24-2 against zim maybe u should give him chance.

  • POSTED BY Rafelgibt on | March 12, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    Im really not getting that why Mahmudullah, Mominul and Farhad are in the squad?Mominul is a very goof find for us but he is not the T20 material.And regarding Maumudullah and Farhad what to say?Simply very good domestic players but would not be able to cope with the international pressure.For the evidence of my talk these 2 lads have been playing for at least 5 to 8 years but still couldn't fixed their position in the team.Ziaur Rahman would be always a better choice then those 2 at any point of the day specially when its T20.Definitely something is going wrong in the selectors mind.

  • POSTED BY Ammo666 on | March 14, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    @MeijiMura: you must have got the answer after this BD vs Ireland warm up match now & the best of associate Ireland which i also agree with you...but anyway BD's loss against Afg was a huge upset..& they need to overcome that in upcoming matches & get back to their real standard & potential which lacked in their last two series close games & ended as unsuccessful.....

    @Jimmy Andy: you should have been clear about what did you really mean by "BD will not even qualify for T20 WC , As on 16 Afghanistan will beat BD ...." :s

  • POSTED BY on | March 14, 2014, 2:47 GMT

    Dont worry BD Fans , BD will not even qualify for T20 WC , As on 16 Afghanistan will beat BD ....

  • POSTED BY MeijiMura on | March 14, 2014, 1:03 GMT

    There is a lot of pressure on Bangladesh now. They've already lost to Afghanistan, they didn't win a game in the recent Asian Cup, they just scraped home against the UAE, a game they looked like they would lose until a last-gasp partnership saved them, and now they play Ireland - the best of the associates. Bangladesh need to lift their game in order to beat Ireland and if they want to beat Afghanistan otherwise they won't even qualify for the T20 World Cup as host - a hugely embarrassing outcome if it were to happen. Bangladesh have failed to deal with the pressure time and time again, will they finally rise to the occasion over the next week and beyond starting with today's high-pressure warm-up showdown against Ireland? It remains to be seen, but hopefully Bangladesh will start by treating Ireland, Afghanistan and others with the respect they deserve and they will be switched on from ball one. If they don't they will keep losing and Bangladesh cricket will plumb new depths.

  • POSTED BY Bdcricketdebator on | March 13, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    After horroble performance of the team against uae minnows the team should be -tamim amamul mushi sakib sabbir zia nasir razzak al amin reza rubel.

  • POSTED BY Fogu on | March 12, 2014, 18:56 GMT

    MD. Isam said it right. The match against AFG is a potential banana peel for BD. If we don't win, our test status will be questioned by the ignorants. T20 is a crap shoot game. 2 overs or a wickets can change the complexion of the game. Any team can win from any position. However, our team needs to develop a strong mindset and learn not to get under pressure. Zia is an ideal T20 palyer who should be used higher up if we get a good start or lower if we need to stabilize first. Same is true for Shakib. We need to learn to change the order based on need. Go Tigers!

  • POSTED BY Ammo666 on | March 12, 2014, 18:14 GMT

    @Smart_animesh: You will care definitely & at the same time will eat your own words you must know miracles doesn't happen again & again..poor you soon!

  • POSTED BY rsmehdihasan on | March 12, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    I think it is time for selectors to analysis the performance of Mushfiq as a captain after T20 world cup. For some unknown reasons Mushfiq is always favoring Mahmudullah. Mushfiq was not the captain like before and his performance should verify after the t20 world cup. T20 world cup squad is a total messed up. Gazi, Razzak, Mahmudullah and Mominul are not a T20 player. IT will be difficult for BD to reach main event and it will be miracle if they win against big 8. Really pathetic team for T20 world cup. We need a brave captain. I do now know what is for BD cricket future. For god sake do not want to see a test team lost against associates. Against strong teams there are little chance with this average players or different type of players.

  • POSTED BY Smart_animesh on | March 12, 2014, 11:11 GMT

    Who cares?? BD will not even win against Afgans.. poor chaps...

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 12, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    taskin will better idea to replace mortaza. The wonder boy has talent he can boy ball at power play or death overs also his back from injuries. on his cone beck match his figure 4-24-2 against zim maybe u should give him chance.

  • POSTED BY Rafelgibt on | March 12, 2014, 7:03 GMT

    Im really not getting that why Mahmudullah, Mominul and Farhad are in the squad?Mominul is a very goof find for us but he is not the T20 material.And regarding Maumudullah and Farhad what to say?Simply very good domestic players but would not be able to cope with the international pressure.For the evidence of my talk these 2 lads have been playing for at least 5 to 8 years but still couldn't fixed their position in the team.Ziaur Rahman would be always a better choice then those 2 at any point of the day specially when its T20.Definitely something is going wrong in the selectors mind.

  • POSTED BY sirnayem on | March 12, 2014, 6:32 GMT

    I also will recommend Zia.. I dont know why Rabiul is out of team! he is such a good bowler.. there must be reasons!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 12, 2014, 6:17 GMT

    @Syed Adlou: you are very right. I also wonder why Farhad Reza in T20 team, his economy rate will be 9.00 if given opportunity to bowl during world T20. But no way, this time the name of Chief Selector is Mr. Faruk who's skill is always poor which was proven many times during his career. Again if Zia is not considered for World T20, then why he was taken in Asia Cup? If Farhad was given chance to play Asia Cup in stead Ziaur, then at least he could have some practices. What a thinking from BD team management ! Purai Foul!!

  • POSTED BY Bangladesh_Forever on | March 12, 2014, 4:36 GMT

    While players from other team's evolve and equip with new weapons every day our players seem to forget the skills they once mastered. Sabbir Rahman could have easily been played as a batting allrounder in the Sri Lanka ODIs. It seems again, BD is considering him only as a batsman but here is his records as a legspinner so far- List A: Mtchs- 35 Inngs- 23 Ovrs- 111.3 Wckts- 29 Avg- 18.79 Econ- 4.88; YODIs: Mtchs- 26 Inngs- 24 Ovrs- 181.2 Wckts- 34 Avg- 21.35 Econ- 4.00; Twenty20: Mtchs- 43 Inngs- 17 Ovrs- 36 Wckts- 9 Avg- 29.33 Econ- 7.33 No wonder our team's attack has only one-dimension (left-arm spin), which too, is easily read by oppositions nowadays because they are developing left arm spinners as well... :(

  • POSTED BY Bangladesh_Forever on | March 12, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Bangladesh management has no vision. Look how Srilanka rotated their bowlers match by match from Mendis/ Malinga/ Perera/ Mathews to Angelo Perera/ Chaturanga/ Priyanjana/ Lakmal in their Bangladesh tour so that every new player's skills are sorted out and confidence boosted up. BD, on home soil, kept flogging dead horses ignoring fresh ones within spitting distance. Arafat Sunny, despite good form, dropped for out-of-form Razzak. Gazi's T20 record is no good yet he is the automatic choice (let alone Riyad who has no variations in his offbreak neither is a big hitter). Zia was always ignored as a medium-pacers until last match in Asia Cup where he was given to bowl all 10 overs in a row (!), (as was Ashraful ignored as a leg-spinner in the past). They are now counting so much on Al-Amin now but they hardly let him play a match this year (same for Sabbir Rahman). Farhad, who is more a test player, fill's Zia's place... :(

  • POSTED BY Bangladesh_Forever on | March 12, 2014, 3:59 GMT

    "In the last five years, we haven't taken four or five-wicket hauls regularly," if there is no slip fielders/ close catching fielders (let alone the dropped chances) how will that happen? Even Stein or Jhonson's 5-wicket-hauls aren't all bowled or LBW...

  • POSTED BY Bdcricketdebator on | March 12, 2014, 3:22 GMT

    Mash bowling will be fisted for runs by opposition.he is a seam up bowler thats why he cannot bowl good dipping yorkers at death.and even if he bowls yorkers the batsmen will comedown the wicket to clober him for his freindly pace.my team for wc would be - tamim bijoy mominul sakib mushi riad nasir gazi reza razzak al-amin.

  • POSTED BY qazi255 on | March 12, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    Addition of Mortaza is the stamp on our victory in T20 world cup . Now no one in world can beat our team BD . BD is the best of the best team no team in world have best quality fast bowler like Rubel no team in world have best batsman like Tamim no team in the world have best all rounder like shakib in short we are the best of best cant wait to see my team thrashing all so called world class teams...

  • POSTED BY Ain_EL_Sabet on | March 12, 2014, 2:55 GMT

    What a poor decision to drop Ziaur Rahman ! He is the most effective baller in t20 for Bd and his batting can change the equation of the t20 game big time . Why they chose not to play Zia for t20 wc ??? !!! I really really wish Zia play t20 wc but it wont happen :(

  • POSTED BY ExpectUs on | March 12, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    He is always in that race LOL ....now I feel bad for laughing

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 12, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    reza is bad choice . I wish good luck for mash. We really need him

  • POSTED BY KingTarik on | March 11, 2014, 23:57 GMT

    Mortaza seems like an inspiration person. The guy keeps getting injured and struggle with his injuries every few months and yet his desire to comeback and play for Bangladesh truly deserves respect. Perhaps he can not play so well anymore consistently like the Mortaza five or six years ago is because he constantly has to battle with his injuries. I feel bad for him. Go Mash and show a good performance . It's overdue.

  • POSTED BY AABCAZ on | March 11, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Yes Mash is on of the key players in BD team, with his leadership tigers were able to go last ball deciders in both T20s against SL. I can't believe Ziaur Rahman is not part of the team, we all have seen his performance in last two series. and why Farhad Reza is in the team, does not make any sense, sounds fishy. It also never made sense to me why Arafat Sunny was part of the team in last two series, this guy has no record any good performance at all... Ziaur Rahman is a must in T20.......... wake up selectors and officials...

  • POSTED BY RED-TIGER on | March 11, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    Shocking that! Ziaur not in :( why??

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 22:12 GMT

    This is rediculous!!! Farhad Reza still in the team and nobody's from the team management trying to bring Zia in! We have killed a bowler like Nazmul and now Zia who can bowl very much stump to stump and is also the hardest hitting BD batsman! He could well be our Watson or Abdul Razzak or Sami! But we're just wasting his calibre!! Mahmudullah is very much unfit for this current BD time BUT still playing all formats of the game without having any speciality in neither bowling, batting or fielding! Team management listening? When would you learn!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    Zia manages to take wickets, almost always. He is a good break-through bowler and should be included. Mashrafe has a brittle body. He won't last the whole tournament as something else will happen. Zia is a handy batsman who can score quick runs. His technique is all wrong, but its the runs that matter.

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Mortaza will be a key playerto the side.

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 19:13 GMT

    The biggest mistake is dropping Ziaur Rahman from the team. Farhad Reza is just a good domestic player and is well known he isnt good enough for international. Ziaur can atleast bowl well and economically and his batting is inconsistent but useful... MILES better than farhad reza!

  • POSTED BY i_amVIVA on | March 11, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    Go Mash, keep the cup home :) Naah, as long as the Tigers give a good fight and play sensibly in the games, that'd be enough, and then whatever results come in they should be content with that at this stage. In the weakness of bowling squad, BD needs to do well in fielding and batting, put some runs in there to put enough pressure on the opponents, then average bowling could do the tricks. Cheers for the Bangladesh Tigers in this WC T20

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  • POSTED BY i_amVIVA on | March 11, 2014, 19:05 GMT

    Go Mash, keep the cup home :) Naah, as long as the Tigers give a good fight and play sensibly in the games, that'd be enough, and then whatever results come in they should be content with that at this stage. In the weakness of bowling squad, BD needs to do well in fielding and batting, put some runs in there to put enough pressure on the opponents, then average bowling could do the tricks. Cheers for the Bangladesh Tigers in this WC T20

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 19:13 GMT

    The biggest mistake is dropping Ziaur Rahman from the team. Farhad Reza is just a good domestic player and is well known he isnt good enough for international. Ziaur can atleast bowl well and economically and his batting is inconsistent but useful... MILES better than farhad reza!

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 19:16 GMT

    Mortaza will be a key playerto the side.

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 20:55 GMT

    Zia manages to take wickets, almost always. He is a good break-through bowler and should be included. Mashrafe has a brittle body. He won't last the whole tournament as something else will happen. Zia is a handy batsman who can score quick runs. His technique is all wrong, but its the runs that matter.

  • POSTED BY on | March 11, 2014, 22:12 GMT

    This is rediculous!!! Farhad Reza still in the team and nobody's from the team management trying to bring Zia in! We have killed a bowler like Nazmul and now Zia who can bowl very much stump to stump and is also the hardest hitting BD batsman! He could well be our Watson or Abdul Razzak or Sami! But we're just wasting his calibre!! Mahmudullah is very much unfit for this current BD time BUT still playing all formats of the game without having any speciality in neither bowling, batting or fielding! Team management listening? When would you learn!!!

  • POSTED BY RED-TIGER on | March 11, 2014, 22:50 GMT

    Shocking that! Ziaur not in :( why??

  • POSTED BY AABCAZ on | March 11, 2014, 23:32 GMT

    Yes Mash is on of the key players in BD team, with his leadership tigers were able to go last ball deciders in both T20s against SL. I can't believe Ziaur Rahman is not part of the team, we all have seen his performance in last two series. and why Farhad Reza is in the team, does not make any sense, sounds fishy. It also never made sense to me why Arafat Sunny was part of the team in last two series, this guy has no record any good performance at all... Ziaur Rahman is a must in T20.......... wake up selectors and officials...

  • POSTED BY KingTarik on | March 11, 2014, 23:57 GMT

    Mortaza seems like an inspiration person. The guy keeps getting injured and struggle with his injuries every few months and yet his desire to comeback and play for Bangladesh truly deserves respect. Perhaps he can not play so well anymore consistently like the Mortaza five or six years ago is because he constantly has to battle with his injuries. I feel bad for him. Go Mash and show a good performance . It's overdue.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | March 12, 2014, 1:08 GMT

    reza is bad choice . I wish good luck for mash. We really need him

  • POSTED BY ExpectUs on | March 12, 2014, 1:43 GMT

    He is always in that race LOL ....now I feel bad for laughing