Sunday, July 26, 2009
Start time 09.30am (13.30 GMT)
The Big Picture
The current strife in West Indies cricket could yet again benefit Bangladesh. They've tasted more success in ODIs, with upset wins against Test-playing nations in major tournaments, and start clear favourites as they take on a makeshift West Indies team over three games. The 2-0 win in Tests - their greatest achievement to date - should give them the confidence to try and press their superiority. As for the hosts, the feud between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) has shown few signs of abating despite the strike being called off. And with many members of the current ODI squad also featuring in the provisional squad for the ICC Champions Trophy, the incentive to make a mark in the ODI circuit has never been greater.
Bangladesh have had a mixed 2009, winning three ODIs - including one against Sri Lanka - and losing as many. Their two failures against Zimbabwe will be a cause for worry though some of their players seem to have recovered form in the Test series - witness Tamim Iqbal's century in St Vincent, Mahmudullah's sensational debut and Mushfiqur Rahim's consistency in the lower order. The biggest plus is the performance of stand-in captain Shakib Al Hasan, who's been outstanding in both forms of the game, but Mohammad Ashraful's appalling run will be under serious scrutiny.
West Indies will field an outfit more experienced in ODIs than Tests and should anyway be inspired to avenge their recent defeats. There were quite a few positives for the second-string team - it managed a significant first-innings lead in St Vincent and could have levelled the series in Kingstown after Bangladesh were reeling at 67 for 4 in chase of 215. Dave Bernard shone with three half-centuries, while fast bowlers Darren Sammy and Kemar Roach showed they were deserving of a place even in a full-strength squad. While spinners won Bangladesh the rubber, West Indies relied heavily on their pace-attack, and with the pitch in Dominica expected to be conducive to seam bowling, the hosts should be able to compete better.
(last five matches, most recent first) West Indies NLWLL BangladeshWWLLW
Watch out for...
Shakib Al Hasan: Currently ranked as the No.1 allrounder in world cricket, Shakib has had an excellent year in ODI cricket. He is Bangladesh's highest run-getter in 2009, averaging 55.75 and is their second-highest wicket-taker with 11 at a staggering average of 10.81. Standing in for an injured Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib led by example in the Tests, capturing 13 wickets in all and scoring an unbeaten 96 in the four-wicket win in Kingstown.
Darren Sammy: The West Indies vice-captain is among the most experienced in the current team in the shorter version of the game, but hasn't done justice to his talent. With 12 wickets at 56.41 and a batting average of 15.91, Sammy was a completely different player in the Test series with two five-fors. However, he threw his wicket away at a crucial time in the second Test and needs to do more to prove his worth as a batsman.
West Indies have included six new faces for the first two ODIs from the Test squad: Openers Devon Smith and Kieran Powell, legspinner Rawl Lewis, wicketkeepers Andre Fletcher and Devon Thomas and fast bowler Gavin Tonge. Smith could open the batting with Powell or Dale Richards, while fast bowler Pascal, who averages 18.50 with the ball in List A games, could take partner Roach in the pace attack in place of the left out Tino Best.
West Indies (possible): 1 Devon Smith, 2 Kieran Powell, 3 Dale Richards, Travis Dowlin, 5 Floyd Reifer (capt), 6 Dave Bernard, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Andre Fletcher (wk), 9 Nikita Miller/ Rawl Lewis, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Nelon Pascal
Bangladesh have named three new faces in their ODI squad: left-arm seamer Syed Rasel, allrounder Naeem Islam and left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, who had been suspended after being called for a suspect action in December last year before the ruling was lifted in March. Rasel is likley to share the new ball with Rubel, while Mehrab Hossain jnr could open with Tamim.
Richard LeTang, the head curator at Windsor Park, the venue for the first two ODIs, has said the pitch will provide "serious pace and bounce" though a score of around 300 would be chaseable.
Stats and Trivia
The Windsor Park stadium has played host to just two first-class games and will become the 173rd venue to host an ODI
Bangladesh have averaged 20.44 per wicket in their six ODIs this year. In the 198 ODIs they've played, they average 21.56 per wicket with 44 wins and 152 losses.
The West Indies squad - with six players yet to make their debuts in ODIs - together has played 106 ODIs, while Mohammad Ashraful has played 139.
"I'm looking forward to the one-dayers. What I'd like to see is a hard, pacy, bouncy wicket." John Dyson, the West Indies coach, doesn't want the spinners to dominate again.
"(Dyson) is going to get exactly what he asked for, it's going to give you some serious pace and bounce. The spinners will have a hard time." Richard LeTang, the head curator at Windsor Park, answers Dyson's call.
"They (WICB) are the boss playing hardball." Chris Gayle on not being picked in the ODI squad despite calling off the strike.