iafrica is the first internet site to post the team profiles on each team participating in this world cup.
Khaled Mashud, Al Sahariar, Alok Kapali, Habibul Bashar, Hannan Sarker, Ehsanul Haque, Sanwar Hossain, Khaled Mahmud, Manjurul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Ashraful, Mohammad Rafique, Talha Jubair, Tapash Baisya, Tushar Imran
The whipping boys of Test cricket arrive in South Africa hoping to overturn their underdog status, and add to the controversial victory they attained at the last World Cup against Pakistan. They could conceivably pick up two wins — they'll beat Canada, and will hope to overcome Bangladesh — but anything more than that is unlikely. Bangladesh are still very much finding their feet at the top of the cricketing world. They play in Pool B, alongside Canada (February 11, Kingsmead), Sri Lanka (February 14, Pietermariztburg), West Indies (February 18, Willowmoore Park), South Africa (February 22, Goodyear Park), New Zealand (February 26, De Beers Oval) and Kenya (March 1, The Wanderers).
Dismal. 2002 was forgettable for Bangladesh, with regular defeats in both forms of the game. They finished off with some noteable individual performances against the West Indies, but found Vasbert Drakes and the Caribbean quicks too hot to handle as a team. Don't expect too much to change in 2003.
Star player is a contextual term; while few of the Bangladesh team would slot into the Tendulkar or Lara category, they do have some promising youngsters. 18 year old batsman Mohammad Ashraful is foremost amongst them; in September 2001, in a Test match against Sri Lanka, he became the youngest Test centurion ever, as well as the youngest player to score a hundred on Test debut. This World Cup will be more learning curve than anything else, but come the 2007 World Cup in the Carribean, we may well be looking at him as a genuine star.
LUCKY TO BE THERE
Tough call, given that the Bangladesh team generally take on far stronger opposition and so don't have the healthiest set of averages. But both Al Shariar (22 matches, average 15.23) and Khaled Mashud (51 matches, average 17.34) could do with a few runs in South Africa.
UNLUCKY NOT TO BE THERE: Akram Khan. Probably the biggest name in Bangladeshi cricket, Khan is the country's all-time leading run scorer, and led the team to victory in the 1997 ICC Trophy. Turning 35 this year, Khan probably would have seen the World Cup as his swansong; sadly for him, it wasn't to be.
Dan Nicholl, iafrica.com sports editor: Bangladesh have found it very tough at the top — Test cricket has exposed their many weaknesses. They'll be competitive at home in four or five years, I reckon; for now, they'll have to make do with the odd upset. Their big game is Kenya, and they'll know it; otherwise, an easy win over Canada will give them their only points. No apathetic Pakistan in their group this time round.
Craig Matthews, former South African cricket player: They're here for the experience. Still finding their way in international cricket — don't expect any upsets.
Adrian Kuiper, former South African player: Still have a lot to learn. Mike Waller, Bangladesh cricket analyst: Contrary to popular belief, there are two World Cups happening in South Africa this year. A World Cup. And a World Cup within a World Cup. What I am really concerned about is who will prevail amongst Holland, Namibia, Canada and the inimitable Bangladesh. Great cricketing nations all these may be, but Bangladesh certainly hold the advantage. With the batting prowess of Manjural Islam, and the raw pace of Tapash Baisya, only the weather could stand in their way. Bangladesh may rank low in the ICC Test rankings, but they're certainly near the top of the alphabet.
WHAT WON'T HAPPEN
Bangladesh replica shirts sell out at each game. South Africa humbled in Bloemfontein in a gleeful act of revenge. Any work takes place back in Bangladesh when the team are in action (they may have an successful team, but this is one cricket-mad nation).
Bangladesh Team Profile: iafrica