Making up the numbers
Bangladesh's form in international cricket suggests that this time around there will be no repeat of their upset 1999 World Cup victory over that year ?s finalist, Pakistan.Updated: Jan 31, 2003 01:03 IST
Bangladesh's form in international cricket suggests that this time around there will be no repeat of their upset 1999 World Cup victory over that year ‘s finalist, Pakistan.
The current Bangladesh national selectors are showing more faith in their young talent and a couple of those players will be worth watching in this year’s tournament.
In his short International career, Alok Kapali has already shown that he has the technique and most importantly temperament required for success as a batsmen at this level, and he also bowls useful leg spin.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza bowls at a pace lively enough to hurry international batsmen.
Although raw, he had some success against Zimbabwe and on tour in New Zealand before a side, and then, knee injury sidelined him for much of 2002.
He has an aggressive outlook to fast bowling so if he can successfully come back, bowl from closer to the stumps and start moving the ball away from right handers, he will be the trump in any success Bangladesh have.
The remainder of the Bangladesh attack is steady at best, with nothing that is going to trouble the Test playing nations in their group.
Mohammad Ashraful, who burst onto the international scene as the youngest ever Test centurion (Sri Lanka 2001) hasn’t, so far at least, been able to reproduce that form.
Technically the most sound of the Bangladesh batsmen, he needs to develop a more planned approach to one-day batting.
For Bangladesh to post respectable scores, senior players Habibul Bashar and Al Shariar are going to have to take on more responsibility and convert some of their good starts into substantial scores.
That way the young players already mentioned, along with opener Hannan Sarkar, can develop without the added pressure of having to lead the batting.
Gordon Greenidge has been re-engaged by the Bangladesh Board as batting coach during their pre-Cup warm up in Namibia. Fifteen days may not prove sufficient to make any significant improvement to their output.
The pressure to perform is always on the Bangladesh team from its many millions of followers at home, but at no time is that going to be greater than when they take on Kenya at the Wanderers Ground in Johannesburg.
Kenya was the 11th ODI team and Bangladesh’s dismal record since achieving Test status in 2000, has created much debate about the relative merit of the two countries at international level.
This particular game promises to be as bitterly contested as any in the whole World Cup.
The ICC should add an incentive for teams like Holland at the World Cup. The qualifiers should be guaranteed a spot in the following World Cup if they beat one of the current Test playing nations.
That would give Holland five opportunities to produce an upset in this tournament.
If they achieved that unlikely feat it would guarantee a bit of continuity in their World Cup play which may just help their officials foster cricket in a country more in tune with soccer, tulips and dykes.
Of the five opponents, Zimbabwe is Holland’s best chance to cause an upset, although the minnows did beat a side from England (another pool opponent) previously on the matting in Holland.
The last time Holland competed in the World Cup was 1996 and they fielded like inspired men for much of that tournament but the batting was inadequate.
This time they will rely heavily on experienced players like Bas Zuiderent, who has played County cricket with Sussex.
Tim de Leede is an enthusiastic all-rounder who will provide skipper Roland Lefebvre with solid support. I don’t see Holland upsetting one of the fancied nations and their biggest challenge will be to beat Namibia, the other qualifier in Pool A. (TCM)
The former Aussie captain will write exclusively for HT during the World Cup
First Published: Jan 31, 2003 01:01 IST