A report from Sportinglife-Analogy of Bangladesh team
We all know what they did in the Caribbean, triumphing over New Zealand in the warm-ups and then embarrassing South Africa and India in the latter part of the World Cup.
New skipper Mohammad Ashraful is well aware that they can pull off such shocks again, telling Reuters
: "We've done it once. Naturally we are confident that we can do it again. We need to win just one game to go into the next stage and I think it is very much possible. The shorter a match gets, the more chance an underdog has to win."
The format should suit their attacking batting, with manufactured shots rather than organised strokeplay the order of the day. But the Tigers' batting order, as determined as it is, fails often; an irresponsible and cavalier approach bringing about their downfall on most occasions.
And they have not yet been tested well enough in Twenty20 cricket. Wins over Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda are not enough to go by and the one time they did come up against a big gun - Pakistan - they failed miserably.
Copious amounts of ODI cricket on the placid subcontinent pitches has brought to the fore a respectable left-arm spin duo in the form of Abdur Razzak and Shakib Al Hasan. Razzak is certainly the more consistent of the two and will need step up to the plate in the absence of veteran spinner Mohammad Rafique.
A lot rests on the shoulders of the strike bowlers. Skipper Mohammad Ashraful has been quick to turn to his spinners in the past and should Mashrafe Mortaza get it wrong up front, that much more pressure is placed on the spin attack to get wickets as well as pegging back the run-rate.
Mortaza's form with the bat has dwindled over the past couple of months so Farhad Reza has emerged as his nation's premier all-rounder. His tidy little right-arm in-duckers provide some nice variation to the attack and batting at six or seven he has often pulled off some quick-fire knocks.
With inspirational coach Dav Whatmore quitting after the World Cup, the Bangladeshis will do well to repeat their April heroics. Ashraful and interim coach Shaun Williams
have a tough task on their hands, leading their side against South Africa and West Indies in the space of three days.
is as close to consistent line and length as the Bangladeshis are going to get. His ability to frustrate the opponents' top order with relatively cheap overs, taking a bit of strain off the rest of the attack, will go a long way in aiding his nation's cause.
In 21-year-old Mohammed Nazimuddin
Bangladesh have found a very good thing. Leaping from international obscurity, Nazimuddin smashed a 37-ball 43 against Kenya recently and then went on to put a Pakistani attack that included Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif to the sword, finishing with 81 off 50 balls.
Likely To Flop
He has endured an up and down time in international cricket and Alok Kapali
, though so full of potential as a leg-spinner, is way too erratic. The selectors have handed him yet another chance; one hopes he doesn't disappoint.
What Could Have Been
Leaving out a host of stalwarts for the trip to South Africa is a good step in the right direction with regards to future of Bangladeshi cricket. Hopefully the youngsters will come to the party and justify the absence of Rafique, Javed Omar and former skipper Habibul Bashar.
Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Mashrafe Mortaza, Alok Kapali, Abdur Razzak, Aftab Ahmed, Syed Rasel, Farhad Reza, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Nazimuddin, Nadif Chowdhury, Ziaur Rahman.