Bangladesh A look to emulate senior team
After the encouraging performances of the senior side, Bangladesh's A team have embarked on a one-month tour of England. The 15-member squad, which includes nine players with Test experience, will play five three-day games and four one-dayers against various county sides.
Talking to the media before leaving for England, Shaun Williams, the coach of the side, said: "We will try to build on the results of the national team especially their performance in the one-day games. But it will not be an easy task for my boys because we are going to face some strong opponents. This is a very exciting squad. There are some talented players who have the potential to dominate the game in future. Our main objective will be to perform at a certain level and gain valuable experience."
Bangladesh's senior team performed dismally in the two Tests against England, losing both by an innings, but came up with a couple of outstanding displays in the triangular NatWest Series, pulling off a shock win against Australia and then running them close in their last game.
Williams admitted that the three-day games would be a bigger test for his team, but added that relatively dry conditions in the second half of the English summer would help the side. "I have watched all the matches of the senior team. I think the conditions were not suitable for our players to perform as per their potential. But now the conditions are almost similar to what we have here. That's why I believe this side will fare better."
The squad, to be led by the 19-year-old left-handed batsman Shahriar Nafees, includes six players who were in England with the senior team earlier this season, and Williams indicated that handling the rigours of the tough international schedule would be another challenge for them. "Most of these players are very young so fatigue is not unlikely although they have international experience. But they have to cope with the hectic international schedule and that is another off the field challenge for them."
Talking about some of the players for whom this tour could be a huge opportunity, Williams brought up the name of Alok Kapali. Still only 21, Kapali made his international debut three years back and was rated highly for his batting and also became the first Bangladesh bowler to take a hat-trick in Tests, before he lost his way and was dropped from the senior side. "Kapali is a brilliant cricketer," Williams insisted. "He is still very young and I can tell you that within a couple of years he will be doing justice to his potential."
Williams also had words of praise for Enamul Haque Jr, the left-arm spinner, and Shahadat Hossain, the fast bowler. "I think Enamul will be playing a vital role as I expect the pitches to be dry at this time of the season. I am also looking forward to seeing how Rajib [Shahadat Hossain] responds to the demands after a bitter Test debut at Lord's [he was spanked for 101 runs in 12 overs]. However, I do not have any doubts about his talent."
Nafees himself exuded confidence on the eve of the trip. "This will be my third visit to England so I have the opportunity to share my experience with my team-mates. To me captaincy is not a burden. Rather it is just additional responsibility and I am looking forward to prove myself both as a captain and a batsman," said the 19-year old left-handed opener.
"This is a very balanced side and there are some out-of-favour cricketers who will be desperately looking to get back their national team places. On the other hand, younger members including myself will also be anxious to impress. So it will be a fantastic tour for us."
Shahriar Nafees (capt), Nafees Iqbal, Tushar Imran, Alok Kapali, Mehrab Hossain Jr, Nazimuddin, Hasanuzzaman, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mushfiqur Rahman, Alamgir Kabir, Talha Jubair, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Russel, Enamul Haque Jr, Abdur Razzak.