England in Bangladesh, 2009-10 March 10, 2010

Jamie Siddons confident of keeping Pietersen at bay

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Bangladesh's coach, Jamie Siddons, is braced for the likelihood of a return to form for Kevin Pietersen at some stage during the two-Test series against England, which gets underway at Chittagong on Friday, but believes that his team has the bowlers to keep his attacking instincts at bay.

Pietersen's alarming form slump has been the story of England's tour to date, with just 69 runs from seven innings in all contests since arriving in Dhaka at the end of last month. Moreover, he has been dismissed by spin in each of his last five innings, and having named a squad packed with slow bowlers, including three left-armers in Shakib Al Hasan, Abdur Razzak and Enamul Haque Jr, Bangladesh intends to extend his lean spell for as long as they possibly can.

"I think he'll come out and try to play some shots, which will be good," Siddons told Cricinfo. "He'll either get us or we'll get him early, which would be nice, but I hope he keeps failing because it'll be one less batsman to worry about. It's difficult when you're out of form, as a right-hander in these conditions. Very difficult."

Pietersen's single biggest weakness is against left-arm spin. With the ball turning away from the bat, and with the knowledge of a series of notable dismissals undermining his otherwise unshakeable confidence, he now appears to be in two minds when playing his favourite sweeps and leg-side flicks. In the one-day series he fell to that form of bowling in each of his three innings, and he also succumbed to the part-timer, Mehrab Hossain Jr, in the first innings of the warm-up game at Chittagong.

Siddons confirmed that Razzak, who claimed Pietersen's scalp in two of those ODIs, was the likeliest candidate to partner the captain, Shakib, with Bangladesh's second allrounder, Mahmudullah, set to complete a three-pronged spin attack with his offbreaks. "If he struggles against left-armers, he's got two bloody good ones against him," said Siddons. "He's a great player, there's no doubt about it, at some point in the next four innings he'll have a performance, but hopefully it won't hurt us. We've got to get through all eleven of England's batsmen. KP is just one of them."

Bangladesh have been preparing for the Test series at the National Stadium in Mirpur for the past week, a situation that left Siddons less than impressed with the scheduling, seeing as their opponents have been familiarising themselves with the Chittagong conditions ever since the third ODI on March 5. Nevertheless, he has reported a clean bill of health within the squad, and confirmed that Shafiul Islam and Rubel Hossain will spearhead the pace attack, just as they did during the one-dayers.

Raqibul Hasan, who starred in the England warm-up with a century and a fifty in consecutive innings, is slated to come in at No. 4, with Junaid Siddique and Aftab Ahmed likely to flank him at 3 and 5 respectively, unless the selectors take a punt and promote the star of the recent New Zealand series, Mahmudullah, from his current No. 8 berth to the top order, in which case Naeem Islam will come in to balance the side.

Either way, there is no place in the set-up for the country's most experienced batsman, Mohammad Ashraful, whose omission from the squad was confirmed shortly after he was bowled for 30 in his second innings of the England warm-up. "At the start of that match it was between Raqibul and Ash, but Raq stood up and made it an easy decision," said Siddons. "Most of us want Ash in the team, but only if he's making runs. We're definitely a better team with him in there making hundreds, and he's had a lot of chances, but unfortunately he can't find his form."

With 53 appearances from a Bangladesh total of 64 Tests, Ashraful is by some distance the country's senior batsman, but Siddons was not worried about the void his absence has created, even though the next most capped player in the starting XI is likely to be the wicketkeeper, Mushfiqur Rahim, with 19. "Experience doesn't count unless you're performing," Siddons said. "Ash's stats just aren't stacking up."

Bangladesh have achieved just three Test victories since their elevation in November 2000, and all of those have come against weak opponents. They start the series as massive outsiders, but Siddons reiterated that performances are more important to him than results.

"Each game is different, each challenge is different," he said. "Our matches are now going five days which is a great start, but for me it's about improvement day by day, game by game, and ironing out our weaknesses. These days, it's not just the one particular thing that is costing us games, we're not playing rash shots anymore, we're getting out fighting which is a good thing.

"But we worry about ourselves," he added. "England are having their ups and downs with new guys coming in from the one-day team. They are trying to find their feet, and our attack is different from the ones they've been playing. If we'll bowl a ball in the right areas, they'll get out. And hopefully they'll get out for less than we make."

Probable Bangladesh team 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Aftab Ahmed, 6 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Shafiul Islam.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zshawkat on March 11, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    Mahmudullah should bat at 5, Rokibul should always be at no 4. If you include Aftab in test team he should be allowed to bat whatever position he wants!!!!

  • benjer on March 10, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Jamie Siddons only knows how to break cricketers mind & he speaks too much than his capability.Performer is always good for him but he don't know how to make the performer.Is he looks like Greg Chappel(Former Indian Coach)now??

  • JS82 on March 10, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    It does not make sense to me to keep both Aftab and Junaid on the team. We should have only one of them bat at #3. They are not in good form and their past records do not justify the selection either. #4 Raqibul, #5 Shakib #6 Riyad #7 Mushfiq #8 Naim #9 Razzak #10 Shafiul #11 Rubel.

  • farhad007 on March 10, 2010, 15:19 GMT

    I believe it is about time we make 2 separate teams for our Nation. One for ODI and one for Test. To me it seems like we get out of options when we think about using the identical squads for both type of the game. For instance in one side neither aftab nor Naim is a test player; on the other side neither Raqib nor Mehrab jr fits in the ODI pattern. So if we start building our test and ODI sides using different players in near future we will see good results. Remember by doing so some of the test players will come up very strong for ODI or 20/20 side. ............just an opinion............

  • Purbo on March 10, 2010, 15:16 GMT

    Why Junaid is still there?He is totally out of form just like Ashraful.Besides,i would like to see either Shuvo or Saqline Sajib into the first eleven.Enam is not good enough at this level and Razzak still needs to show the right tecnique to Bowl in the test match with the red ball 9 (claimed 7 wickets in 7 innings, Ave 80.14).It's so important to give Shakib some support from the other end.I would love to see Mahmudullah Riad to perform with the Bat and Bowl like Shakib does.Not much hope with the two quickies(Rubel and Shafiul),its not about maintaining 140 kmph also about taking wickets to give spinners some back up.Hope that,Bangladeshi batting will show the same sort of consistance scoring above 400 and love to see English batsman specially kP keep struggling against out left arm spinners.Good luck Bangladesh.

  • BaNgLaDeShTiGeR on March 10, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    i think bangladesh need better fastballer den shiful n rubel they tolly suckz n they should put ashrful insted of juined sadike he tolly dont belong on international cricket they shoult bring back any old player like alok kaple or nafess or jabed omar all they did is lose with big score nothin better den new time doing good job even the they losein with evertime.. expect zimbow n westindies

  • dummy4fb on March 10, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    jamie siddon is good coach..he made Bangladeshi player more confident..but the problem with him is he speaks too much

  • dummy4fb on March 10, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    jamie siddon is good coach..he made Bangladeshi player more confident..but the problem with him is he speaks too much

  • Awmi on March 10, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    How about having Shuvo as a third spinner he has good batsman too

  • benjer on March 10, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    Junaid came unnccessary in the squad he is totally out of form.Why he included in the team??Our fast bowler in this condition totaly unfit except mashrafee but shafiul is better.so bangladesh can play with extra one sppinner i/o junaid.Mahmudullah sould bat on number 5 & Rokibul in number 3 & number 4 is Mushfique that could be better for bangladesh.Good luck bangladesh!

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