The key to any great team is depth. This has been proven in every sport and
the Australian cricket team is the best example. With a team like that, players
are always motivated to give their best knowing that someone else could easily
take up the place should they fail. Bangladesh is finally starting to enjoy
the emergence of depth to its cricketing ranks and performances in the tour
matches will potentially determine the final playing eleven.
Shahriah Nafees will be desperate to make an impact before the Lord's Test
and pressure the rest of the batting order to perform. Javed Omar was under
pressure before the game at Cambridge and with Shahriah Nafees knocking on the
door he chalked up his highest first-class score. At the moment Aftab, Rajin
and Ashraful have pretty secure spots in the middle order. But it just takes
a little loss of form and someone finding it at the right time to be sitting
on the sidelines.
The problem with Bangladesh has often been lack of depth both in the batting
order and pace attack. Mediocre performances have been enough to ensure a place
in the next match because of the age-old question, who else? Hannan Sarkar and
Alok Kapali, both in disgraceful form, played the first Test against New Zealand
because there really wasn?t anyone else to take their place. When they
failed again, the under-19 stars were thrown into the deep end of international
This trend could well continue. With the under-19?s finishing a successful
campaign in Australia, the likes of Nazmul Hossain Milon and Shamsu Rahman could
be pushing for a place in the national team. This will in turn create the right
mindset for the men in the national team at the time. ?I must score runs
today or junior will replace me?. Should something happen to one of the
batsman, someone should be able to slot in with no problem. When will Bangladesh
see the likes of Michael Clarke and Martin Love filling in and being successful?
Both came in for injured players and played great innings on debut, which enhanced
their Test career. Michael Clarke is still in the national team due to the 151
in Bangalore and Martin Love got the call up again when the opportunity arrived
because of his performances against England.
In recent times, the most certain of positions have been those of Khaled Mashud
and Mohammad Rafique. Finally, even they are getting pressured for their position.
The under-19?s produced more gems in Mushfiqur Rahim and Enamul Haque
Jnr. Now both Mashud and Rafique will have to perform well in order to keep
their place in the XI. These are good indicators for the future.
The pace department is where the biggest problem with depth lies. Mashrafe
Mortaza is one of the best cricketers in the country and will definitely play
in both Tests, unless injury should strike again. However, in England you can?t
go in with one fast bowler. Tapash has been a consistent performer in the recent
past but will that be enough to ensure a place for future series. Tapash is
a committed, patient and accurate fast bowler but lacks penetration and his
Test bowling average of 57 reflects that. His place could come under pressure
if Shahadat and Talha were to destroy the Sussex or Northants batting orders.
Shahadat and Talha are potentially fighting for the same position and will fire
up and do everything to prove to the selectors that they are the men for the
Yes, the tour matches are giving people match practise before the test series
and getting them used to the English conditions but they are so much more. The
lack of Test class cricketers means that the team is flexible and the tour matches
are where players will try and impress the selectors. Mushfiqur Rahim is playing
against Sussex. If he should fail, that could be it for the tour. However, if
he has a great game he might play in more tour matches and send Mashud a few
Enamul Haque Jnr now has the opportunity to find a place into the team as the
only spinner against Sussex. Should he do what he did against Zimbabwe then
another test cap isn?t out of the question. Perhaps even two spinners
could be played, which would give extra incentive for Shahadat or Talha to perform.
Whatever way you look at it the Tigers will be at the top of their game and
that is what the fans, coach and test cricket wants to see.