Bangladesh in West Indies 2014 August 17, 2014

Bangladesh's chance to add to their Caribbean success story

Many of Bangladesh cricket's high-water marks have been set in the West Indies © Associated Press

Bangladesh could not have asked for a better destination to play cricket than the West Indies in these late-summer months. The beaches, mountains and the reggae immediately spring to mind but that is just part of it; this is one of only two places in the world from where Bangladesh have departed feeling better than when they arrived.

Having won nothing this year, without their best player, and with a new coaching crew in charge, they should be happy to be playing at a place where they have reached several milestones. On their first tour there, in 2004, they took the lead for the first time, declared an innings and eventually drew abroad without the help of rain for the first time. Three years later, Bangladesh's best World Cup campaign was in the West Indies, when they beat India to move into the Super Eights where they outplayed South Africa.

In 2009 they landed in the West Indies only to hear of a players' strike that eventually had them playing against what was effectively a third eleven. They went on to pick up their first overseas Test-series win, as well as a maiden away ODI-series victory outside Zimbabwe. The following year they were knocked out of the World T20 in the Caribbean in the first round, but not before resisting well against Pakistan and Australia.

But the performances in 2004, 2007 and 2009 are high-water marks in the history of Bangladesh cricket. The expectation from the 2014 group should not be the same, but confidence and positivity can be derived from those past tours. Habibul Bashar, Khaled Mashud and Mohammad Rafique scored centuries in the same Test in 2004, the only time that has happened in a Bangladesh team. Tapash Baisya and the late Manzarul Islam did a fine job with the ball in that year's ODI series.

In the 2007 World Cup, it was the coming out party for Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Abdur Razzak and Shakib Al Hasan while Mohammad Ashraful staged a mini-revival of his career with unbeaten knocks in the first round and 87 against South Africa in the second phase. Shakib and Tamim were running the show two years later, with help from Mahmudullah.

Among the current lot in the ODI squad, seven have toured the West Indies before while the likes of Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Shamsur Rahman and Sohag Gazi have visited with Bangladesh A. Only Anamul Haque, Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain have not toured these islands.

Mushfiqur will have to lead from the front, using his batting form to inspire the team, and ensure the captaincy is far more effective than it had been at home since January this year. As much as he would want Tamim, Nasir, Mahmudullah, Razzak and Gazi to return to form, those in form will also be asked to continue the good work.

In his first match here four years ago, a baby-faced Mominul battered West Indies A with 150 in exactly five hours. He had shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 259 runs with Nasir, who also made a century in that game in Antigua. Mominul is now an established middle-order batsman in the senior side, expected to continue his Test form and regain composure in one-day cricket.

Anamul has also scored runs in the shorter format, though there will be some calls for him to better his strike-rate. Mushfiqur has been the team's best batsman overall, while Imrul Kayes has done justice to both call-ups he got this year, though a question mark remains over his consistency.

The pace attack came alive in the short ODI series against India in June; Taskin Ahmed became the country's first bowler to take a five-for on ODI debut there. Mashrafe Mortaza has led the attack well, with Al-Amin often providing a tight spell from the other end. Rubel Hossain, the leading wicket-taker among Bangladesh fast bowlers in ODIs this year, will have to fight for a place.

What would worry Mushfiqur is the spin attack, particularly with Shakib missing. Abdur Razzak and Sohag Gazi have been poor so far this year, despite playing all their cricket in home conditions. They would be asked to continue to lead the show with the older ball, and must take an upward step.

Finally, this would be a stern opening test for new coach Chandika Hathurusingha. He has replaced Shane Jurgensen, who was seemingly doing a good enough job until everything went wrong in January this year. The fallout between Jurgensen and the BCB should keep Hathurusingha on his toes, despite the early bonhomie that he has been accorded.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 18, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    lack of vision on the part of the wicb cricket board was the reason Bangladesh won that series in 2009 against a WI C team. what the board should have done is foreseen the players strike which was threatening to pop up for sum time & omitted the senior players from squad selected in order to get new talented players to face a mediocre Bangladesh side on tour. this would have preempted the whole fiasco as a strike without the key senior players such as Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Bravo senior,Taylor etc would have been rendered almost impotent. The young players would not have wanted to give up a chance to play test cricket & Ramdin would have appreciated the opportunity to play as acting captain. simmons, bahrat, morton, bravo jr , edwards, Nash, brathwaite, ramdin, roach, rampaul, pascal, richardson, & benn would have been more than enough to beat Bangladesh but instead we ended up stuck with Reifer + Sammy & Best who we only just got rid of nearly 5 years later.

  • Dar on August 18, 2014, 10:18 GMT

    I hope Tigers can play a competetive game and not throw their wickets away for few showing off shots and runs. They need to build their mental status to stay in the cease for longer period. If they can play the full 5 days in Test and 50 overs ODI, then that's an achievement in itself. Good luck, because I only got interested in Cricket since B'Desh 2007 WC in West Indies. I've never showed interest in cricket before, but sadly, now I follow BD in evetry game, lose or WIN. I hope they can learn from the Sri Lankan Lions.

  • Shuzi on August 18, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    Only one of Rubel and Mash should play. At least one of Gazi and Razzak should be dropped. I hope the young ones are not the wrong ones...

  • Android on August 17, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    without shakib it will be hard

  • Android on August 17, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    Spin is being our main strength since many years,but unfotunately this time,this is being our main weakness with Gazi & Razzak is completely out of form Shakib is not there.On the other side they have Naraine & Millar,who are in great touch.To win the series is more unlikely,though i pray for opposite.

  • Shoaib on August 17, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    Bangladesh needs more ODIs. These 3 against West Indies and 5 against Zimbabwe is not enough for World Cup preparation and high chance we will lose to Afghanistan again. All the other teams will be playing 13-20 ODIs before then so if can arrange games against Ireland and someone else than that would be great. Regarding this series, unlikely Bangladesh will succeed.

  • Dummy on August 17, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    If they utilise taskin and Alamin properly in the West Indies seaming condition and if they can get some early wickets in the first session,I hope this time team BD have a great chance to win the series moreover their top order batsman also have to show commitment for their team to take their side home.

  • Dummy4 on August 17, 2014, 16:59 GMT

    Surprised to see that both Jerome Taylor and Krishmar santokie have been left out of the Windies squad..they have performed pretty well in the recently concluded CPL..Still Bangladesh have to play out of their skin to beat the Windies in their own backyard this time..their top order have been inconsistent with only Mushfiqur making runs consistently..with no Shakib, makes it a bit more difficult..they have to play Rampaul , Roach , Holder and especially Narine and Miller well..

  • sohail on August 17, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    Best of luck Bangladesh Team! Make it happen!

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