15 June 2007
Bangladesh's newly appointed captain Mohammad Ashraful believes Bangladesh will start performing in the test arena from starting with the upcoming Sri Lanka series. According to Ashraful, Bangladesh will perform much better compared to their last outing in Sri Lanka in 2005, which was dubbed as the worst test series played by Bangladesh.
After returning to the test arena after a 13 months break, Bangladesh managed to draw one test and lost the other in the recently concluded two match test series against India.
Bangladesh enter into Ashraful era through Sri Lanka tour © Cricinfo
Ashraful, in his first assignment as a captain, wants to work hard to extend each test match to five days with some good batting display.
"My personal team target is to play throughout the five days in all the three tests. We have emphasized on our batting in the practice sessions. All of us have batted for a long time in the nets and the centre wicket. We have been playing good cricket in the ODIs for the last 12-13 months. That is why there is more confidence is the team," said a confident looking Ashraful during the final press briefing before leaving for Colombo.
Despite suffering heavy defeats against the islanders on all previous occasions, the Bangladesh captain is confident of putting up a good fight against Sri Lanka in the away series.
Most teams have struggled there in recent times. We toured Sri Lanka four times but could not play well. But this time I see more self-confidence in every player. Also we have plenty of international experience. That gives me reasons to feel optimistic about this series," said Ashraful.
Ashraful was critical about the form of the top order batsmen in recent times, but remains hopeful that they will learn from their mistakes.
"We did not play well against India in the tests. But after that we practiced a lot in the nets. Our batsmen have a problem with ball selection. We have been working on this for the last seven days. We hope that we will not repeat the same mistakes in the upcoming series."
He was also keen to utilise the three-day warm up match before the test series to acclimatize to Sri Lankan conditions.
"We have a three-day match prior to the test series. We will try to gain more confidence by putting up a good show in that match. We will probably go into that game with the best squad we have."
Most of the Bangladesh?s current crop of players came through age-group cricket and Ashraful, the youngest test captain of Bangladesh, is optimistic that the team spirit of the young Tigers will help each other to lift their game.
"There are a number of players in our team who have been playing together from the under-13, 17, 19 levels. We have also played with the senior players for the last five-six years in the national team. So there is a very good understanding between us. I think it is a plus point for our team".
Bangladesh leave for Sri Lanka on June 17, and the three match test series will kick off on June 25 with first test to be played in Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
- From Internet by Khondaker Mirazur Rahman