Bangladesh's chance to prove a point
Tuesday, April 8, 2008 Start time 15:00 local time (10:00 GMT)
Bangladesh's whistle-stop tour, which can be viewed as a consolation for Australia pulling out, comes just a few days before the start of the Indian Premier League. The result appears a foregone conclusion - especially given Bangladesh's woeful recent record - but the visitors will hope to win some mini-battles over the course of the five games. An upset or two would be a big fillip for their confidence, at a time when they are looking to rebuild with a young side. Mohammad Ashraful has urged his supporters to give the side more time to settle and it will be interesting to see if they can put up a fight against a quality opposition.
Form guide - Pakistan
Last five matches: WWWWW
Player to watch: A tall, attacking opener, Nasir Jamshed was one of the success stories in Pakistan's experimental one-day line-up in the home series against Zimbabwe recently, scoring 197 runs in five games. He took full advantage of the weak Zimbabwean attack to post half-centuries in his first two ODIs. Jamshed is particularly strong on the offside and isn't shy of chasing deliveries away from the body. He has another chance to cement his opening slot, especially with Kamran Akmal also in the fray to partner Salman Butt.
Form guide - Bangladesh
Last five matches: LLWWW
Player to watch: After an indifferent ODI series at home against South Africa, Shahriar Nafees bounced back strongly against Ireland with three consecutive half-centuries. He backed his promotion to the opening slot with scores of 90 not out, 60 and 54, ending the series with an average of 102 and the Man-of-the Series award. Bangladesh's long-standing problems in the opening position were solved temporarily in that series thanks to Nafees and Tamim Iqbal.
Umar Gul and Rao Iftikhar Anjum have been recalled for the first two matches, and both should be in the XI for Pakistan. There is slight doubt over Rao Iftikhar due to an ankle niggle, but that is unlikely to prevent him from playing. Bazid Khan is another one to watch out for, especially after the good form he has shown in domestic competitions. Pakistan have a couple of other youngsters in their squad - Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz - who did well against Zimbabwe, but they will probably get an opportunity later, if the series is already in the bag.
For Bangladesh, Syed Rasel, the left-arm seamer, is the only addition to the 14-member squad that completed a 3-0 win over Ireland, but he might have to sit out for the first game.
Bangladesh (likely) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Aftab Ahmed, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Raqibul Hasan, 7 Mahmudullah Riyad, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Farhad Reza, 10 Dhiman Ghosh (wk), 11 Abdur Razzak.
Pakistan (likely) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Nasir Jamshed, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Mohammad Yousuf, 5 Shoaib Malik (capt), 6 Misbah-ul-Haq, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Kamran Akmal (wk), 9 Rao Iftikhar, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Sohail Tanveer.
Umpires: Steve Bucknor, Aleem Dar
Pitch & conditions
The pitch at the Gaddafi Stadium looks a belter - whatever little dry grass there was on the surface was also being shaved off on the eve of the match - and the 3pm start means there'll be no early morning assistance for the fast bowlers to make use of. There might be some dew later in the evening, but look of the pitch and the hot weather suggests the captain winning the toss will prefer to bat first.
Stats & trivia
"We know they can be dangerous so we will not take them lightly and play at our best to win all the matches. This doesn't mean I am claiming to sweep them. We will try to achieve that with good work.
Our pace attack even without Shoaib [Akhtar] is good. Asif is recovering and played
a domestic game today, Gul is back and even Sohail Tanvir and Rao are
experienced bowlers now."
Shoaib Malik, Pakistan's captain
"Pakistan are ranked fifth right now and we are ninth, so the discrepancy is massive. We've got to stick to our gameplans. If Pakistan slip up, we'll jump on them. So whoever plays for them, we'll play our own game - it doesn't really matter to us."
Jamie Siddons, Bangladesh's coach
"We are confident. We beat Ireland in our last series and our batsmen were
scoring runs and the bowlers were taking wickets. We are a young, talented
side. If we stick to our team plans, we will do well and have a good chance of winning."
Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh's captain