There is a fascinating series starting on Friday, between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I wanted to know a little bit about Bangladesh's chances. As I do not consider my self to be very knowledgeable on Bangladesh cricket, I have got a little piece written by a good friend of mine Tahsin Hussain. Here is what he had to say about the series and some of the key players for Bangladesh.
So come Friday Bangladesh play their first of two test matches against Sri Lanka in Galle. The big question is of how Bangladesh will cope without their allrounder and key player Shakib Al Hasan? First and for most they have to deal the pressures of test cricket, which they have yet to fully master. Years have gone by in which Bangladesh have been less than impressive in the longest format of the game.
So how do they approach the upcoming test matches without their influential spinner?
Firstly, in test matches they have to play each session, then they have to repeat this the next session and so on. In the last test series against West Indies they did really well, but could not finish games off in both tests. The young players are coming good and if they put their hands up and perform they should be able to make the series competitive.
So without Shakib which players could step up?
I have picked out five players who could have a big say if Bangladesh are to do anything in the series. They are opener Tamim Iqbal, the young emerging batsman Anamul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim the skipper, the vice captain Mahmudullah Riyad and emerging spinner Shohag Gazi.
What does Tamim Offer?
He has the ability to explode at the top of the batting order and has the pedigree to dig in and play a long innings. We have seen this talent in the past, namely in 2010 where he scored back to back centuries against England, averaged over 50 in test cricket and was also named Wisden's Test Player of the Year, ahead of Graeme Swann and Virender Sehwag. He is only the second Bangladeshi to win any such wisden award, the other player being Shakib in 2009.
What does Anamul Offer?
he is just 20 years of age and has already shown leadership qualities captaining Bangladesh in the last Under 19 world cup in Australia. He came out the tournament as the leading run scorer, making two hundreads and also winning a few player of the match awards on the way. he made his ODI debut against West Indies in Bangladesh's first game of the Sahara Cup 2012. The very next match he was making his first senior test century scoring a match winning 120. In domestic cricket he averages 44 and already has 7 centuries to his name. I like many other fans think very highly of this player, he not only could be the best batsman in the future but likely to be considered as a future captain if he continues to progress.
What does Mushfiqur Rahim offer?
Being the captain of the national side there is added pressure on him to perform. Test matches are nothing new to him as he made his debut at the age of 16. Now 24 he has valid experience to lead by example, he is great at assisting the younger players into the squad and helping them develop for test cricket. It is funny that you consider a player of 24 to be a senior player, but he defiantly is, playing alot of international cricket, he is just one of a number of young players who have been around for a while in the squad. His test average is hardly anything to shout about being just under 30, but we have seen in the recent BPL tournament that he is on form. He ended the competition as the leading run scorer. His leadership will be crucial in determining how Bangladesh perform in the series.
What does Mahmudullah offer?
He is one of the most underrated Bangladeshi players at the moment. In the last year and a half he has been the stand out performer. Not only does he offer a great spin option, he is a batsman who can bat long innings. His test century against New Zealand proved that he is a calm batsman, exactly what the team need from a lower order batsman. He will also have to step up a little bit more as the other all-rounder Shakib is missing.
What does Gazi offer?
He was called upon last year for his international debut against the West Indies. In the ODI series he was very influential and ended up being the leading wicket taker. He backed this up by being the leading wicket taker in the BPL. His lower order batting is another asset, he has a first class century to his name. Another allrounder which could shows alot of promise for Bangladesh.
For Bangladesh to have any chance of winning the test series against Sri Lanka the above named five players must perform to their potential and the other young players will also have to chip in. The series will be very hard as Sri Lanka have a fully fit team with the exception of their former captain Mahela Jayawardene. This in a way means that both teams will be without their best players. In my opinion Bangladesh will have to perform at 100 percent to win the test series, possibly the better chance of winning would come in the ODI's and T20 game to follow. The series consists of two test matches, three ODI's and one T20.
Once again I would like to thank my friend Tahsin for this great article, it has been pretty informative. I will now be looking out for these players especially Gazi as he is the player that I have never heard of.