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August 19, 2014
Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has said that while the side will miss suspended allrounder Shakib Al Hasan on the West Indies tour, the ODI series will offer young players a chance to show their skills before the 2015 World Cup.
Shakib was given a six-month suspension by the Bangladesh Cricket Board in July on grounds of "serious misbehavior" with the side's new coach, Chandika Hathurusingha, and for his altercation with a spectator during a recent ODI against India. The allrounder had played a stellar role during Bangladesh's last full tour of West Indies five years ago, after taking over as captain from the injured Mashrafe Mortaza. On that tour, Shakib led Bangladesh to an overseas Test series win, followed by a victory in the ODIs, and he also did well in the 2007 World Cup and 2010 World T20 in the Caribbean.
"He has been our best player in the last eight to ten years," Mushfiqur said. "Of course we will miss him. The series will be a difficult one without Shakib. But in our last series, against India, some new young players have stepped up. This is yet another opportunity to have a closer look at them before the World Cup."
Bangladesh's only away wins against Test-playing countries have come on tours of Zimbabwe and West Indies. Mushfiqur said the team had discussed its lack of success away from home and conceded the team isn't "strong on paper". However, he said the challenge was in motivating his troops.
"We have done well in ODIs back home but we have had problems with consistency overseas. We have addressed it, and we look forward to it.
"It is going to be a big challenge for us but the boys are up for it, they are hungry and ready to do well. We are not a strong team on paper, but if we do well in the field and execute the plans, then hopefully it will be a great series for us.
Bangladesh started the tour on the right foot, with a convincing win over Grenada in the warm-up game. They will also bank on the experience of players like Imrul Kayes and Sohag Gazi, who had toured the West Indies in May this year with the Bangladesh A squad.
"We will try to take advantage of our Bangladesh A players in the side. At the same time, the practice game was great for us. Our batters and bowlers did well. The outfield wasn't great but the players are in good shape," he said.
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain, said he was happy to have the new fast-bowling combination of Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach in the side. Roach, who made a comeback to international cricket in the series against New Zealand, had battled injuries for almost a year and had also undergone shoulder surgery. Bravo also hoped Jason Holder would have an impact for West Indies in this series.
"Roach has been out due to injury. Ravi has been our best bowler throughout the time he has been playing. There's also Jerome Taylor, who is back into cricket, and you can't forget Jason Holder who has done good things since he has come into international cricket," Bravo said. "I'm happy all those players are fit and available for selection. It makes the competition within the team tougher but at the same time, it's good to be able to put our best XI. We have good quality fast bowlers, good spinners, players who can bat deep as well."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84Feeds: Mohammad Isam
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