3 January 2010
Rookie pacer Shafiul Islam is set for his international debut in the opening match of the Tri-nation ODI series when Bangladesh takes on Sri Lanka at the Mirpur Sher E Bangla Stadium in the day-night affair on Monday. Bangladesh have opted for relatively inexperienced Rubel Hossain and debutant Shafiul Islam over experienced Syed Rasel to change the fortune of the struggling pace bowling department.
Shafiul Islam who earned the call after an impressive domestic campaign said he is ready to step on the big occasion. "I am excited. I think I have taken 10-12 wickets in five-odd matches at this ground this club season and I know the conditions well. I was also mentally prepared to play because thatâ€™s the reason I am in the team", said an excited Shafiul in the official media briefing.
He also thanked his team mates for their support before the big occasion. "The support from the senior players have been brilliant. Mortaza (Masrafe) came to the dressing room and wished me luck today and told me to be aggressive. The other guys have also supported me and have made me feel at home. I had played with Mushfiqur (Rahim) at Under 15 level and having him in the club team (Bangladesh Biman) and the National Team is a big plus for me".
The young pacer also earned the backing of his coach who thinks Shafiul may well surprise many on his debut. "He has got a lot of tricks up his sleeves. He does a few things with the ball so Iâ€™m really excited. Shafiul and Rubel (Hossain) could go for a few runs or they could go very well. This is an ideal; opportunity for them and we have confidence in them" said Jamie Siddons.
Bangladesh coach also expressed his satisfaction about the preparation despite lack of match practice for almost two and half months.
â€œWe had 12 months against Zimbabwe and â€˜West Indies Aâ€™ team, but last monthâ€™s Premier League was a great competition and the players have played very good cricket. And the training over the last few weeks was fantastic".
"As I said it wasnâ€™t ideal preparation for this tournament but you canâ€™t always play the best team I guess. Others teams were busy. We had Zimbabwe to beat, West Indies to beat and we did it really well. I think the way we played was pleasing. The wins are wins, I mean I love winning. But the way the boys have played, the way they have handled people like Kemar Roach in the West Indies bowling at 150kmâ€¦no problem and people like (Raymond) Price of Zimbabwe who is one of the top 10 bowlers in the world" added Siddons.
Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan also echoed his coach and urged his team mates to raise their game in the tri-nation ODI series. "We know that we are improving and it is up to us to show the rest of the world that by performing" said a determined Shakib in the pre-match press briefing.
The match will start at 2:30 PM local time and Neo sports will broadcast the match across Asia while fans from USA can watch the match through ESPN360 who will stream the match for free.
Bangladesh playing XI: Imrul Kayes, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Roqibul Hassan, Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Mahmud Ullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (Vice Captain), Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain.