World Cup team profile: Bangladesh look for transition to next level
Kolkata, Feb 7 (IANS) The 'Tigers', as they are affectionately called by the fans, have not quite roared in the international cricket yet, but pundits think Bangladesh can emerge as a strong cricketing power in the World Cup.
They have scripted some major upsets in previous editions of the mega event, but never could cap it off by reaching the business end of the tournament. This time their main objective will be to make it through to the quarter-finals.
The No.9 ranked One-Day International (ODI) team began their Cup journey in 1999, achieving their first victory in the quadrennial event against Scotland.
They pulled off a major coup beating Pakistan by 62 runs in that tournament. They couldn't quite maintain the momentum in the 2003 edition, but four years later, in the Caribbean, resumed their 'giant-killing' act stunning India to qualify for the super-eights.
It was their first and only time they made it past the first round. They co-hosted the 2011 edition of the tournament along with India and buoyed by the home crowd defeated England in a thrilling match.
They maintained the momentum, winning against Ireland and Netherlands, but it wasn't enough to secure qualification to the next round. But their form in the build-up to the competition hasn't been impressive, losing 12 of the 18 ODIs they have participated in 2014, winning only five.
To add to their worries, their preparation was marred by a recent controversy involving fast bowler Rubel Hossain. He allegedly had a physical relationship with an actress after promising her marriage but putatively turned back on his promise.
The actress dragged the cricketer to the courtroom forcing the sport to take a backseat in the country. Hossain, however, was allowed by a Dhaka court to travel to Australia to represent his country.
Bangladesh are in Pool A clubbed against heavy-weights like Australia, Sri Lanka, England and New Zealand along with 'minnows' Scotland and new-comers Afghanistan. The team will be led by fast-bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, a veteran of 144 ODIs, and is coached by former Sri Lankan cricketer Chandika Hathurusinghe.
The team is boosted by the return of No.1 ranked all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan and the presence of wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and opener Tamin Iqbal, all of whom have played over a hundred ODIs.
The team will be highly dependable on Hasan to fire with both bat and ball and hope to get a brisk start from Iqbal. Mominul Haque and Rahim will be the anchor man of their innings. They have a good chance of starting the tournament brightly having received a 'kind' opening match against Afghanistan at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on February 18.
A win in the match will boost their confidence ahead of matches against heavy-weight sides like Australia and Sri Lanka. The World Cup presents Bangladesh a good chance to take that overdue leap from 'minnows' to a strong team.
Bangladesh's 15-member World Cup squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan (vice-captain), Mahmudullah Riaz, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Nasir Hossain, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Arafat Sunny.