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World Cup 2011

Bangladesh play down Pakistan warm-up game

Mohammad Isam in Mirpur

February 14, 2011

Comments: 162 | Text size: A | A

A view of the Shere Bangla National Stadium with its new hovering cover, Mirpur, February 6, 2011
A view of the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium with its new hovering cover, © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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For regular visitors to the Mirpur venue, be it players, officials or journalists, it was like entering familiar terrain, but one that had a different feel to it. Bangladesh's premier cricket ground has been transformed into an excellence centre and it was fully utilised on Monday, with three teams taking the opportunity to enjoy the facilities. After England used the Academy ground in the morning, Pakistan began to use the newly-laid turf on the northern side while Bangladesh sweated it out at the indoor centre in the eastern corner while also using the green retreat of the main venue for their fielding drills.

It is here, at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, that the latter two teams will play a warm-up match tomorrow, a contest Pakistan at least are taking seriously. "Any match before the World Cup is going to be tough," Shoaib Akhtar said. "We are going to take it as a proper match rather than thinking it to be only a practice. We have seen India playing against Australia, which was a pretty serious match.

"Bangladesh have beaten New Zealand few months ago and we all know what Bangladesh is capable of. I predict that Bangladesh is going to be in the semi-finals or in the quarters for sure."

Pakistan have a settled enough line-up and if they do use 14 players tomorrow, it will be to test some of the youngsters. Ahmed Shehzad (despite his recent century), Asad Shafiq and Junaid Khan have never played an international game in the subcontinent and this game would be an excellent way to blood the trio in front of a sell-out crowd.

Bangladesh, however, had a different strategy, and were determined to play down the significance of the game. "They will play fourteen players, we'll play thirteen so it's not a real match, just a practice match," Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons. said. "It is a really good challenge, actually a great practice game."Pakistan are a good team but I'm not worried about them, I'm worried about us. We won't be experimenting, the batting line-up will be close to our actually starting XI. We will use extra bowlers as part of the thirteen and give everyone a try.

Bangladesh captain, Shakib Al Hasan, adopted the same stance. "We are not thinking about the result but we are concentrating on properly using the practice game. We'd rather do well in the tournament than in these games. The players used the last game very well and I was impressed by the pacers. I think Rubel [Hossain] just returned from injury and he will come back better."

This insistance on ignoring the result is an indication that the Bangladesh camp is keeping a close eye on the pressure the players might face in a home World Cup (although it is just a warm-up game), and why they are repeating the mantra that though a win is important for momentum, ultimately, "it's not a real game".

Mohammad Isam is Senior Sports Reporter, The Daily Star in Dhaka


Comments: 162 
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Posted by Andrew on (February 17, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

Law of averages say that the Bangas won't win tomorrow. India on paper have a superior side in several key areas. The pressure of playing in a home W/Cup will be equal on both sides - so the Bangas won't be able to play like they have nothing to lose - because they do have plenty to lose! That being said - what I do know about Sport & Life in general - is that if it is possible, it could happen! Tamim is a match winner, if he goes berserk (bear in mind India's bowlers are not their strength), the Bangas could be 0/120 after 15 overs. (NZ were 1/94 after 15). Sure the Bangas are likely to collapse - but Shakib could just as easily launch another offensive. India will need to Bat or Bowl well in the 1st Innings - give the Bangas a sniff & they'll take it. I think if Nafees opens - we could see a replay of SLs famous 96 campaign!

Posted by Andrew on (February 17, 2011, 23:28 GMT)

@o0oPiTBuLLo0o - love your passion - but you're basing your predictions on a Warm Up Game v NZ? World Cups are not won in the week before the Cup starts - they are earnt. To win India have to win 3 games in a row culminating in the final - there is plenty of opportunity for injury/bad luck/panic! Good luck!

Posted by Suhel on (February 17, 2011, 7:12 GMT)

In the WC 2007 India did a (-blundering-) mistake. NO Mistake will be repeated this time. The team is very well aware of BD and have learnt a lot from the mistake. If India happens to win the toss on 19th, believe me..... team India is going to go RUTHLESS, MERCILESS, FEARLESS, and will blast out ! There WILL be really high totals SET (my estimation nears 350-430). India still has the wound of 2007 fresh, they are out with their full strength to DEMOLISH (ANY team - ANY here literally means any, give them the best of the best opponents - may it be AUS,SL,SA or even PK), India is going to take their REVENGE on 19th. God bless Team India, this 2011 WC is yours, just GO SNATCH IT. I am a die hard fan of team India from US, i will support my team. And yes as a sportsman-spirit, Good luck to all Bangladeshi fans and to their team for the 19th !!!!

Posted by Suhel on (February 17, 2011, 6:51 GMT)

I hope who all read and commented on this article have noticed/seen today's warm up match of India. It was a clear message sent by INDIA to all the remaining teams playing in this 2011 WC regarding their FULL in FORM BATTING STRENGTH. This WC likely casts the shadow of each player's (of each team's) recent (in past 8-12 months) performance during their ODI matches. India's batting line up is real tough and hard to pierce through! ALL be AWARE! This time(2011 WC), All the 14 SELECTED INDIAN players are very well in form and at their best! Impressions have already been made by India when they played their recent ODIs against AUS (2010), Twice with SA (once in Ind and other time in Sa),NZ. And i guess you guys have already noticed the two warm up matches India has played till now. God Bless team INDIA. Team INDIA is destined to win the 2011 WORLD CUP. Most likely Final match would be INDIA VS SA and INDIA WILL defeat (tough fight) SA in Mumbai. Lastly, Good luck to ALL the teams competing

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 17, 2011, 6:41 GMT)

pakis team has show his skills against NZ in test & odi srz.

Posted by Manesh on (February 17, 2011, 6:39 GMT)

Practice or real, the result will be the same... :D

Posted by bani on (February 17, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

looking at the match with NZ, we can expect india will post a score of 450 with BD...insaallah...

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 17, 2011, 4:32 GMT)

GOOOOOO BANGLADESH ! go for it tigers !!we will go to the second round !!! hoping for a excellent world cup !

Posted by Dar on (February 16, 2011, 22:07 GMT)

Jamie Siddons, Ian Pont & Julien Fountain, if you're reading these comments, I just want to say that you're doing a wonderful job. Just ensure that you get to select the right players for the right game and do not allow influence from our Bangladeshi politicians to put pressures on you. Make us proud of our young Tigers in this WC and taking'em to the highest level. We have faith in you guy. Tiger fans, please be patient and make Du'a that our Tigers be successful in this tournament.

Posted by mohammed on (February 16, 2011, 18:44 GMT)

please take out Asra;;;;;fool and put NAFEES.

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