Bangladesh v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI, Mirpur January 18, 2009

'I am worried about the batting' - Siddons

Cricinfo staff

Mohammad Ashraful will replace Mushfiqur Rahim at No.3 © AFP

Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh coach, has singled out his team's batting as the main worry ahead of the three-ODI series against Zimbabwe, beginning in Mirpur on January 19. Bangladesh were bowled out for 152 in the tri-series final against Sri Lanka, and fell short chasing 205 in the first game against Zimbabwe. Their top-three batsmen managed only 46 runs between them in three games.

"We are not playing reckless shots any more and we are not losing wickets to bad shots. It is just that the boys are unable to find a way to score when the pressure is on them", Siddons said on the eve of the first ODI. "In the first game [against Zimbabwe] their spinners bowled in the right spots and our batsmen should have been smart enough to know how to score four runs an over under pressure. So that was a big learning curve. I am worried about our batting."

The opening partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique failed to reach double figures in all three ODIs and Mushfiqur Rahim's promotion to No.3, after a good performance in the Tests, was a failure. Siddons said Ashraful might replace Mushfiqur at that position.

"The two guys at the top Tamim and Imroze [Junaid Siddique] haven't made runs for a while now and haven't put up a big score," Siddons said. "I can see how well they are practising and they are the two best guys for the job. No one has really put a hand up to take their spot. They are two talented youngsters who are going to do well in the future. We just got to persevere with them and if Ash [Mohammad Ashraful] starts to step up then the top four would look a lot better."

Zimbabwe's 38-run win upset Siddons but he felt his team was still adapting to the ODI format after a two-Test series against Sri Lanka. "We were really confident against Zimbabwe but the first game was a slip up. We were not ready for the tempo and momentum of one-day cricket. It is a faster pace and we needed to score quicker but our guys were in the mood of letting balls go.

"We picked ourselves up pretty fast and I didn't think we'd get the bonus point but we got that and in the final it was amazing. Everyone thought we had it and we did not do too much wrong but Murali took it from us."

Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, expected the top-order to come good and said he was looking forward to batting at No.3. "Here I would like to see a hundred in each match from one of the top-order batsmen and hopefully I will make runs too if I get going.

The reason I had opted to bat at No 4 was because I thought it was better for me if the ball was a bit older. But for the team combination I will bat at No 3 and I hope to make use of that opportunity."