ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Bangladesh v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, warm-up
Siddons disappointed, but upbeat after defeat
Sidharth Monga in Mirpur
February 16, 2011
In their first warm-up before the home World Cup, Bangladesh showed a mix of nerves, rust and over-excitement to lose to Pakistan by 89 runs. Four simple catches went down, two big batting guns didn't quite deliver, and the batsmen looking in good touch played reckless shots to get out. Coach Jamie Siddons, always a forthright talker, didn't look to hide what went wrong, but said he wasn't too concerned with what happened in the warm-up game. The team was ready for February 19, he said, when the whole world will be watching them.
"The other catches were quite disappointing," Siddons said. "[But] I am glad it was a practice game that we dropped catches in, and not on the 19th. Our batting was a little bit rusty. Probably been three months since we have played against good-quality bowling. We weren't quite up to it. Especially in the middle overs, we couldn't quite get off strike. Hopefully we have got the bad one out of our way. The boys are still upbeat, I am still upbeat. I am not too worried about this match."
Big chases against good sides have always been a problem with Bangladesh, and that is what Siddons focused on. Once they lose Tamim Iqbal early, which they did in this game, there is almost always a feeling of inevitability when Bangladesh are chasing scores in excess of 250 against good sides. That, Siddons says, has to change.
"I think chasing 285 is a big target, but it is achievable," Siddons said. "I don't think we were sensible enough. The captain led from the front, and played a silly shot [a pull straight to long leg], and it went through the whole team. With five and six required an over, they got under pressure a little bit. We have talked a little bit about it already, we are going to talk more about it before the India game. Against good teams, we are going to have to chase 280 a lot. The chase is gettable, and I think we will do a lot better the next time."
There were positive signs too. Shafiul Islam, before going off with a foot injury, started well, bowling five overs for 19 runs. The pitch assisted the spinners, and Shakib Al Hasan was quick to utilise it both as a bowler and as a captain. "Shafiul was the pick of the bowlers," Siddons said. "He bowled beautifully. Swung the ball a lot, bowled fantastic lines, had the openers in trouble, got a wicket. Shakib has got his rhythm back, and confidence back, which he hadn't had for two series. And the pitch spun, which is a positive for us for the tournament. Imrul Kayes  was a positive. Raqibul Hasan  positive towards the end."
It was a better warm-up experience for Pakistan, with their in-form batsmen, Ahmed Shehzad and Misbah-ul-Haq, struck centuries to take their side to a big total. The concerns, if you were to look hard, were that Younis Khan was yet to get into his groove, and Shoaib Akhtar didn't bowl at all.
"Often only one or two players score big in one big innings, that's what Misbah and Shehzad did," Waqar Younis, Pakistan's coach, said. "Younis Khan missed out, we would love to have him get some runs going into the World Cup. I am not too worried about it, but if he gets runs in the next game, things will start rolling for us."
Shoaib could be a bigger concern, in whose absence Abdul Razzaq opened the bowling. "Shoaib is not in touch at the moment," Waqar said. "If he gets it right in the next game, he is obviously the No. 1 choice. At the moment, we have a slight problem with the new ball, but there is still some time to go.
"We played Shoaib in New Zealand. He improved in patches. It is important he gets into full throttle before we get him into the side. We are trying to work with him. Aaqib Javed and myself, we are working with him, trying to get his rhythm right before the tournament starts."
Waqar was pleased with Shehzad, who survived a good opening spell, and then accelerated to get a century. "Pretty impressed," he said. "He has been playing really well, from the back end of the New Zealand tour. He scored a hundred in his last game as well. He is in superb touch. For a youngster to come in to such a big scene and playing such a good knock with such responsibility, it is amazing to see that. Hopefully he is going to carry on delivering."
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