ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Bangladesh v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Khulna

Senior players take responsibility

Bangladesh have been more inexperienced than they would prefer at the start of the ODI series with West Indies but their senior players have done more than lead from the front

Mohammad Isam in Khulna

December 2, 2012

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Mushfiqur Rahim scored 79 and took three catches, Bangladesh v West Indies, 2nd ODI, Khulna, December 2, 2012
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim and other experienced players have maintained a settled dressing room with a host of young faces © AFP

The contribution of Abdur Razzak and Mashrafe Mortaza in Bangladesh's 160-run win is four West Indies wickets. Their other major say in the 2-0 series lead has been their self-confidence and its spillover on to the rest of the team.

Bangladesh are unusually more inexperienced in this ODI series with four players making their debut in the first game, making it important for the senior players to not just walk the walk but to also maintain a settled dressing room.

The afternoon when Bangladesh had lost the Test series, Mashrafe had already arrived ahead of the rest of the players picked for the ODI series. He had seen a glum camp and immediately made plans for a trip to Narail, his home district which is nearly 100km north of Khulna. The players went two days before the first ODI, had a relaxed time in his house, and in their boat rides in the Chitra River. Whether that helped the team is another matter but Mashrafe's exuberance has won over many a dressing room.

"That disappointment is why I took them to Narail," Mashrafe told ESPNcricinfo. "It is important to talk to the younger players. I often speak to them about various aspects of the game. At the same time, it is not just the talking but the performance afterwards that matters too."

Ahead of the second game, Mashrafe pointed out the importance of making good starts with bat and ball, and it actually panned out like he had said. Bangladesh lost two early wickets in the morning but Anamul Haque and captain Mushfiqur Rahim held sway from the 7th over while with the ball it was Sohag Gazi and Mashrafe who ensured a sound start to the defence of 292.

"This time different players are performing, not just the one or two usual faces," Mashrafe said. "In the first game, Tamim and Naeem scored runs while today you saw Anamul and Mushfiqur making the important runs. To have a number of contributors is a major improvement in our team and I like the way these youngsters have come through in the first two games."

He also explains to the bowlers in Bangla after the coach has spoken to them in English in their separate bowlers' meetings, just to make sure everyone is in the same page and has understood what has been said. Apart from these little things, Mashrafe does a fine job with the new ball. Although he hasn't reached the fitness levels to play the longer format, his value as a one-day bowler is quite high. In the first game of the series, his first spell of seven overs kept Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons quiet in the first ten overs, the latter falling to his in-ducker in the 11th over. Mashrafe did a similar job in the second game, but here his first spell did more damage as he removed Gayle despite getting hit - and not just for fours and sixes.

The team is fortunate that they have had Mashrafe and Razzak to keep speaking to teammates who need a bit of direction in international cricket.

It set the scene nicely for Razzak and Gazi who then ran through the middle-order, taking three wickets each. Razzak, the country's highest wicket-taker in ODIs, removed the big-hitting Dwayne Smith with a leg-before decision that could have gone either way but went in Razzak's favour. He straightened one to Darren Bravo an over later which caught his outside edge and Mushfiqur juggled and completed the catch. Devon Thomas was sent back two balls later, a beauty of an arm ball that went through bat and pad.

Razzak, like Mashrafe, is from the southwest, a town called Bagerhat which is 30km south of Khulna city towards the Bay of Bengal. He has also been a figure that has stabilised the team, particularly adding much-needed balance to the spin attack in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan. He has the knack of controlling one end with a very straight line of attack, the variations coming to his aid when he wants to take a wicket.

Despite the proximity of their hometowns, they have taken different routes to the national team. Razzak is a graduate of the Bangladesh Institute of Sport who turned into a Dhaka Premier League star through bags of wickets. Mashrafe is younger than Razzak but had started playing for Bangladesh three years earlier when he shot to fame in an age-group tournament and was slotted into the Test side.

But both need to feel comfortable in the team environment, and this time they seem happy. Mashrafe's relationship with Shane Jurgensen has made him feel at ease. Previously he has had communication gaps with coaches who saw him fleetingly due to his injuries. Razzak, meanwhile, has thrived in the confidence of his 43 wickets from five first-class matches this season.

The difference between Bangladesh teams of old and the ones in this decade is that they listen to all contributors and not just senior figures, which has often come under fire. Mashrafe and Razzak have had the wickets to back up the words, and the team is fortunate that they have it in their interest to keep speaking to teammates who need a bit of direction in international cricket.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

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Comments: 19 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (December 5, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

MASHRAFEE MURTAZA is like a Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls) or Karim Abdul Jabbar (LA Lakers) of BD team. His mere presence sets up the whole tone for the team. He is truly a leader who can lead a team. I just hope he doesn't get injured anymore because I believe he can offer lot more for the country than what he's already produced so far.

Posted by Ekram on (December 3, 2012, 19:21 GMT)

BD needs to hire specialist fast bowling coaches (Wasim Akram) for the long term for both the national team and academy level to produce genuine pace bowlers.

Posted by Yasmin on (December 3, 2012, 19:11 GMT)


Totally agree with your sentiment. If we can properly train the kind of lineup we've recently acquired, we would truly be a formidable opponent. However, I think talent was never an issue for the BD team...what we always lacked and we still do is TEMPERMENT. A player can hide a lot of holes in his game by being overly aggressive during ODI matches. However, these players always get exposed during the TEST matches. During the recent test series against the WI team, our players repeatedly exposed their lack of restrain and poor shot selection. Chanderpaul showed everybody what being a test player is all about. He plays with controlled aggressiveness and with tons and tons of patience. At one point he didn't score a singe run in 30 consecutive deliveries. Until somebody can teach TAMIM and his buddies to channel their aggression and build a better temperment for the game, we'll continue to find ourself at the bottom of the pile for many more years to come.

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 3, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

The day will come, may not be today, may not be tomorrow, but may be in the near future, when all will dare to undermine a daring and dangerous Bangladesh team. All respects for the newly revealed Bangladesh team will certainly make India show the softened attitude for Bangladesh and invite them to a test series in the soil of India. Nevertheless, Bangladesh need to play more of that longer version of cricket to be equally respected, like OD.

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 3, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

WI back to their normal level of performance after some awesome show in between. Pretty self destructive, I must say. Bangladesh made the most of it.

Posted by Hasib on (December 3, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

Bangladesh found 4 new talents recently: Nasir, Gazi, Anamul, and looks like Mominul as well. Abul Hasan is also a very capable young player. Naeem, however, though is suited best for test cricket. I wish Shakib was fit to replace him for the next ODIs. Number 3 is a mighty important batting position and either Mushfiq or Nasir should come in to bat at 3. Seniors Mortaza, Shakib, Tamim, Razzak, & Mushfiq have proven to be international quality players. Now we have 9 in form players in the team which will definitely help us win the series. Mahmudullah is also very valuable as an allrounder. Best of luck BD.

Posted by Yasmin on (December 3, 2012, 0:42 GMT)

Quality fast bowling is the foundation of ODI matches. Nowhere is that truer than the cricket arenas of BD. BD doesn't churn out brainy & brawny fast bowlers essential to compete with the elite teams of the world. Whenever in good health, Mashrafe becomes the captain's natural choice to lead the bowling attack. He might not take a lot of wickets & his bowling has definitely lost a lot of pace due to the repeated injuries he sustained over the years. But the last two ODIs proved the true value of the best strike bowler BD ever produced. It was Mashrafe that set the tone of the WI batsmen by suffocating them with strategic & precision bowling...they never got a chance to settle down, stretch their feathers and start firing in all cylinders. The taking of Gayle's wicket didn't happen simply by chance. He induced Gayle to play that shot by setting up the scene with earlier deliveries. I sure hope Mash gets the chance to pass down his knowledge and insight to the future generations.

Posted by sabbir on (December 2, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

If politics stays away from sports, than there will not be ever finding a talented player in BD

Posted by niaz on (December 2, 2012, 22:06 GMT)

The bangladesh team might something like old india team. Some decent bats and some spinners. Only decent seamer has already retired from the test cricket. With a couple of decent quicks BD will compete well against other teams.

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 2, 2012, 21:07 GMT)

nicely written article isam

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