There was a time when our national cricket team was pretty experienced. We
had some well-known players upon whom we could depend. Then the process of rebuilding
started to adjust to the rigors of International Cricket. And for more than
four years we could not win.
However, things are starting to look brighter now. We have recently managed
to stop this drought of wins and now have a win under our belt. Now there are
some players in the national team who, we trust, will always stay at the wicket
even if a few wickets have fallen quickly. All of a sudden, we no longer have
to try and search for the lowest ever totals in the record books.
The players themselves are now beginning to understand their own responsibilities.
They are also trying to unearth their hidden potentials. We can also see that
the promise of the future that we have all been hearing about is now more achievable.
The West Indies tour is coming up soon. This is the first time that a Bangladesh
national team will visit the West Indies. However, there are some players of
the current team who have already visited West Indies before as part of the
Bangladesh 'A' team. Some of them have also played against the West Indies at
home over the last five to six years.
Our victory over the ninth test playing nation Zimbabwe in the 3rd One Day
International have made us confident of a maiden test victory in the West Indies.
At least, we hope that we're confident enough this time to contemplate pulling
off a surprise win.
However, this is not going to be easy. To achieve such a win, we will have
to overcome some of our main weaknesses. For example, the wickets in the West Indies are
going to be greenish, quick and will have some bounce. Some of our players are
quite used to it. They have played against the South Africans, Australians and
the Pakistanis sometimes on quick bouncy pitches and sometimes on slower wickets
with less bounce. But this time, there will be pressure on them to be successful,
as they have already put up good shows against some of the big names.
Then there are the dark horses, players of whom we are not
too sure. For example, Rajin Saleh, one of the most consistent and
successful players of the last few series, is suspect under these conditions.
Mushfiqur Rahman is another suspect. They have not played against the
best like Australia and South Africa, nor even on pitches that are quick and
bouncy, but yet, they are amongst the most dependable players of the current
team. So it is up to them to prove themselves again as to whether they are going
to remain consistent and successful against the West Indies team on their home
Consider too the case of Mohammad Ashraful and Alok Kapali.
Bangladesh never seems to get their services together. When one of them is playing
splendidly, the other one is in terrible form and vice versa. There really are
no questions about their talent and if both of them do play well together in
the same match, our dreams will come true, because together the two of them
have the ability to beat ANY International side on their best day.
These are only some of the dark horses in the Bangladesh team. The West Indies
team too has its own dark horses. Fidel Edwards and Tino Best
are two emerging fast bowlers with some raw pace. While the experienced players
can maintain the pressure from one end, they can bowl with aggression from the
other. We are all also familiar with Brian Lara - the world record
holder who made one of the quickest hundreds against us during 1999, Ricardo
Powell, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ramnaresh Sarwan,
as well as our very own Habibul Bashar and Mohammad Rafique.
If we are to win one test match, we have to make sure that at least one of
our own dark horses come up with the goods and surprise us as well as our opponents.