By the time this article gets published, Vaughan and his men will already be on Bangladesh soil, training hard for their first warm-up game. Even before the first ball is bowled, the Bangladeshi players should already hold a grudge against their opponents; it was after all the English who demurred the inclusion of Bangladesh into the upper echelons of international cricket. A good chance to humble our detractors should certainly not go begging.
Which of course brings us to the strategy section for this series. It is important to remember that the series goes beyond the two test matches and the three one-dayers: the matches with the Bangladesh Cricket Board President?s XI, the Bangladesh A team and the Development team are just as important to a nascent cricket nation like ours, especially with the upcoming Under 19 World Cup. Here is a little blurb for the forthcoming warm up matches:
England v BCB President?s XI
The first match of a tour is always very important because it provides the first opportunity to see the tourists in action and to get some idea about their plans and strategies for the series. Another reason to look forward to this match is that Hannan Sarkar will get a chance to captain the team. Touted as a future leader both by his colleagues and local cricket pundits, Hannan has come through the age system and is undoubtedly Bangladesh?s most improved batsman over the past two series?. The match is also important for some of the younger batsmen who have been selected, players like Nafis Iqbal, Aftab Ahmed, Moniruzzaman and Nazimuddin. Although Moniruzzaman is the only one out of the lot to have made it into the 20-member preliminary squad, any one of the four can push their way into the Test squad with some good performances in this match. This match is also critical for all-rounder Mushfiqur Rahman, who gets just the one chance to stake his claim for the number 6 position in the Bangladesh batting line-up, something many have serious reservations about. Paceman Anwar Hussain Munir and spinner Enamul Huque (Jnr) will also want to create a lasting impression on coach Dav Whatmore, who is sure to watch the practice matches very closely.
England v Bangladesh A
The match against Bangladesh A will the last warm-up game before the First Test and England will most likely name their best XI for a dress rehearsal before the real action begins. For Bangladesh, this provides another chance for the pretenders to stake their claim, especially for Nafis, Aftab and Nazim, the only players to have been selected for both the warm-up games. Pacers like Talha Jubair, Tarek Aziz and Alamgir Kabir will also look to impress the selectors. However, most eyes in this match will be on Rajin Saleh. Although he has cemented his places in the team after just one series, everyone will be looking to see how well he can captain the side in this important match. Something that must be kept in mind is that the England team will be looking to these matches to acclimatize as quickly as possible. Should the local combinations win the tosses, they should bat out at least four of the six days of play. Late October heat and the queasy Brit tummy should take care of the rest.