Bangladesh in Sri Lanka 2012-13 March 1, 2013

Mushfiqur confident of young players firing


A slew of late injuries may have thinned Bangladesh's ranks by the time they landed in Sri Lanka for their month-long tour, but captain Mushfiqur Rahim remained optimistic about his side's chances, and backed his young players to fire.

Bangladesh arrived in Sri Lanka without allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, whose calf surgery following a stress injury will keep him out for at least six weeks, while batsmen Shahriar Nafees and Naeem Islam, and left-arm spinner Enamul Haque jr will also miss the tour through injury. Their replacements include 21-year-old batsman Mominul Haque and 24-year-old uncapped allrounder Marshall Ayub, but it is likely to be the more established youngsters in the squad who will be called upon to bear more responsibility in the absence of several key seniors.

Bangladesh won their last ODI series against West Indies 3-2 in November, with instrumental contributions for 20-year-old batsman Anamul Haque and 21-year-old offspinner Sohag Gazi, and Mushfiqur hoped his players would ride the momentum from that series into the Sri Lanka tour.

"We had a couple of injuries in the last series against West Indies, and Shakib was not part of the ODI series - but we still won that series. The couple of young guys who came into the side in his place performed really well. We'll miss him, but it's a chance for the younger guys to prove they can do well abroad as well as at home."

Bangladesh last met Sri Lanka in an Asia Cup match in Dhaka, when the hosts defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets to earn a place in the tournament final. They had also beaten India earlier in the tournament, and their ODI record in 2012, when they won more matches than they lost against top-eight opposition, suggests they are an improving side.

"There is no secret to our success," Mushfiqur said. "The boys have really been working hard for the last one or two years. Someone needed to put their hands up and do the basics in the middle, and that's what we did in the recent series against West Indies and also in the Asia Cup. The youngsters have come good and are performing really well, so hopefully they will continue in the same way."

The Sri Lanka tour begins with Tests however, where Bangladesh have been less impressive. Bangladesh achieved a slim first-innings lead in the first Test against West Indies in November, but could not sustain those standards throughout the Test, as they faltered in the final innings in pursuit of 245. There were encouraging periods in the second Test as well, most notably a maiden ton to debutant Abul Hasan from No. 10, but they were ultimately walloped by 10 wickets.

"In the Test match we have to play each session very well and keep doing that over and over. In the last series against West Indies we did really well, but we couldn't finish well in both the Tests. The young players are coming good, so if they put their hands up and perform, we will have a competitive Test series. "

Bangladesh travel to Matara on Friday, to prepare for a three-day warm-up match against a Sri Lanka emerging side, which begins on Sunday. The first Test starts in Galle on March 8. In addition to two Tests, Bangladesh play three ODIs and a Twenty20.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 3, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    BCB should not have allowed Sakib to play BPL final and should not let him play coming IPL. Players should be more careful about their injuries & more committed to their national side....To Srilankan and Bangladeshi Cricketers, please don't run after money only, play for ur countries glory, u people have chance to serve ur country in international level & very few people get this chance. Please realize this..

  • Dummy4 on March 3, 2013, 4:08 GMT

    Me also . Hope all of u also confident about this tour..

  • shyam on March 2, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    bangladesh to begin tour with confidence....they should play good cricket....srilankan is not stong as their fans recent toiur to austrlaia they wer humilaiated 0-3 also they wer defeated in home by newzealand in test and in one day by inidna naturally with all those recent record o bangla and srilanka ..bangladesh have little edge.. even if bangladehs loses .s.till not a big deal..remember ...even after getting test stuatus to srilnaka for over 30 years still not won single test in either australia or india..

  • KH. RAFIQUE on March 2, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    @Safir Zawad on (March 2, 2013, 6:10 GMT) brother are you serious about your comments?I would like to differ with your views.As a professional cricketer(who represents the country) money is an essential part of a players life but that doesn't mean its the only dream of a player.Shakib and rest of the regular players are the luckiest guys of our country that they are representing our nation of 16 crore.Isn't that a prestigious or a privileged matter?You and i didnt get the chance to do so but still we are earning something to live our lives compare to those players simply nothing.So, in comparison to playing for your own country the matter of MONEY is simply nothing to be mentioned.

  • charith on March 2, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    I also believe BD is playing well now. Bt still they don't playing against Sri Lanka as well as they do against other countries. Sri Lanka beaten by BD only three times in the history. My point is they haven't consistent against SL. Sri Lanka really think about the test series seriously. May be SL will use new guys to the limited cricket against BD. It is not because of BD is weak. SL looking forward to the next WC. Plenty of young players performing well in SL domestic series. I believe few new players will select to ODIs. There for BD got a chance beat SL. But that not going to be easy tusk. ya, that's true BD beat WI recently. But this is SL. OK, Tigers make your weapons ready lions are waiting for a war.

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    I fully agree with Omar almamun... he is a cricket pondit and has vast knowledge on BD cricket,,Salute

  • Enamul on March 2, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    BD will take the IDO & T20 series convincingly and the test series gonna be 1-1 draw.

  • muhammad on March 2, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    @Shihan12... Agreed with u. i blv comments should not hurt anyone. In fact While SL plays against other country other than BD, we also support SL. We blv BD will come to world cricket like SL & will dominate oneday.

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    SL is the world champion team.They had the cricket legends who dominate the cricket world year after years.On the other hand we Bangladeshis are heading to a great future but SL would be our icon.We cant misjudge jayasuriya,de silva,muralitharan.Whole cricket history defy them and condemned them.So stay lets have a look to the test,one day and t20 betn BD and SL.We want good cricket where we can find ourselves competent and efficient as well.