The last time Junaid Siddique played England at home was more than a year ago, in February 2010. He scored a duck then. Since then, Junaid has played 19 ODIs, and has been dismissed in single figures only twice. Even those two instances have occurred only recently, after an unbroken run of double figures in 14 games. That's a record any No. 3 in the world would trade, but then again this coin has the other side too. Twelve of those promising starts have ended for scores less than 40, which is Junaid's average for the same period is 35.
Of late, though, Junaid seems to have shown a bit of confusion as to what his role in the side is. He has become more free flowing, but that seems to have cost him his wicket too often. And in a side that has shown it needs somebody to put a heavy price on his wicket, someone who puts his head down and faces the heat, Junaid's recent adventures haven't quite helped.
Two days ago, the coach Jamie Siddons identified Junaid as one of the men capable of playing long innings. "Imrul [Kayes] and Imrose [Junaid] are the two players that are expected to do that," Siddons said. "Imrose was playing a lot of shots, I have spoken to him about that. That's not his role in the team."
Junaid still believed that it was important to be positive, but acknowledged he needed to convert the starts more often. "I have been playing a few shots because I think playing positive cricket will count in the end," he said. "I have been playing well getting starts, but have not been able to carry on. I am scoring the first 30-40 runs very confidently, but getting out. My coach has also told me, and everyone is also helping me prepare. I don't want to get out in the next match, and that is what I have been trying at the nets."
His last sentence is important. Bangladesh nets sessions are usually a place where the batsmen don't spend a lot of time defending or fine-tuning defensive shots. Perhaps it is just because this is one-day cricket, perhaps the recent defeat makes it more conspicuous, but the Bangladesh nets sessions seem to feature much more merry hitting than other teams'. Over the last two or three days, though, Junaid and Mushfiqur Rahim have been more focused on playing the correct shots first before the adventurous one.
"Yes, we have not been able to put up big partnerships in any of the three matches so far, and that is the main reason why our batting could not perform," Junaid said. "We have to try that and ensure a big score from our top order. That is the target of our top order. We have always played shots at the nets, and now we are sincerely trying to stay there.
"On a personal level I have been trying for some time now to get a big score, play a long innings. I am going to try and do that against England. If I get a start, I will definitely try and play a big knock on Friday."