Match factsThursday, July 9, 2009
Start time 10.00am (14.00 GMT)
The Big Picture
Tumultuous events have led to West Indies playing a second-string team but it gives Bangladesh a great opportunity to win an away series for the first time. Will they seize the moment? It won't be easy - Bangladesh aren't a great Test team and West Indies, however depleted they may be, are playing at home. It could, however, turn out to be an interesting - and closely fought - Test series.
The visitors have a new captain in Mashrafe Mortaza and it would be interesting to see if his predecessor Mohammad Ashraful flourishes as a batsman without the responsibility of leading the side. Ashraful's career has mirrored that of Bangladesh cricket: very talented but ultimately disappointing. They have had some splendid, though sporadic, results in ODIs but as Mortaza himself put it, "Our performance in Tests has been nothing to write home about." This series against a depleted West Indies team offers a great chance to reorganise and start getting consistent.
On the other hand, West Indies have nine uncapped players in the squad and a captain who last played for West Indies nearly ten years ago. Not many are going to criticise this team if it loses the series. In that sense, the pressure is off them and it's an opportunity for the likes of Kraigg Braithwaite, a prolific 16-year old batsman, and the 32-year old opener Dale Richards to showcase their talent.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
West Indies- LLDDD Bangladesh - LLLLD
Watch out for ...Shakib Al Hasan is arguably the most valuable player in the Bangladesh team. A world-class allrounder, he will be the player West Indies will be most wary of. Shakib's stellar performance in the Test series against South Africa drew praise from former Australian legspinner Kerry O'Keefe, who said he was the "world's best finger spinner at the moment".
Dale Richards, the Barbados opening batsman, is the one of the most consistent openers in West Indies domestic cricket. He was slated to make his Test debut against England earlier this year but was sidelined by a foot injury.
Bangladesh have already announced their XI, with Test debuts to Mahmudullah and fast bowler Rubel Hossain. Both have played ODIs the the country and Rubel has established himself as among the quickest in the pace attack. Mahmudullah, who bowls offspin, can expect a fair bit of bowling and will partner Shakib Al Hasan.
Bangladesh Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful, Raqibul Hasan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Shahadat Hossain, Rubel Hossain
West Indies (from) Omar Phillips, Dale Richards, Floyd Reifer (capt), Travis Dowlin, Chadwick Walton (wk), Darren Sammy, Kemar Roach, Ryan Austin, Tino Best, Kevin McClean, Nelon Pascal, Andre Creary, Nikita Miller, Kraigg Brathwaite, David Bernard.
Stats and trivia
- Bangladesh's average runs-per-wicket of 29.41 in West Indies is their
best while playing overseas. They drew a Test the last
time they played a series in the Caribbean, their only such achievement
outside their country.
- West Indies have played six Test series since the start of 2008 and have only won
one, against England earlier this year, and lost three.
- The average age of the Bangladesh squad is 22.
- Shakib Al Hasan has taken more than a quarter - 27.8% - of the wickets
by Bangladesh in the Tests he's played - 35 out of 126.
- Mohammad Ashraful averaged just 22.58 in his 13 Tests as captain - the
lowest for a frontline batsman who has captained his
side in 10 or more Tests since 2005.
"We would like to play against Chris Gayle, [Shivnarine] Chanderpaul and others. I know they are world-class players but still we want to play them because we can learn so many things when those guys are batting or bowling."
"It's going to be an exciting time. We'll just have to do our best, won't we? But this is the way it goes in professional sport these days. We've got a new group of players, there's some exciting players amongst them and it's going to be an interesting series. Bangladesh are not an easy cricket team. They have played some good cricket in the last 12 months, they are an improving team. So we'll have our hands full to do well against them."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo