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This series marks the first in Asia between two mediocre sides in almost nine years. The backdrop is however quite a bit more interesting than in 2002, where Jermaine Lawson once ripped through the home side to take unbelievable figures of six for three in a Test match. Hot knives have far more trouble cutting through soft butter. That was then. This is now. Asaad Wahid previews the upcoming West Indies in Bangladesh tour.

Series Preview: West Indies in Bangladesh (October 2011)

Published: 10th October, 2011

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The West Indies Team Practicing
This series marks the first in Asia between two mediocre sides in almost nine years. The backdrop is however quite a bit more interesting than in 2002, where Jermaine Lawson once ripped through the home side to take unbelievable figures of six for three in a Test match. Hot knives have far more trouble cutting through soft butter. That was then. This is now.

Since that encounter, where Brian Lara was unneeded for the visitors to trample all over Test cricket's neonate, much has changed. Bangladesh earned their first and to date only real draw in a Test at St. Lucia in 2004 on the backs of three centuries each from Habibul Bashar, Mohammad Rafique, and Khaled Mashud. 2009 saw a return Test tour and a second string West Indian side get swept in what was the original "BanglaWash". 

The two sides again met in the grand confines of the Mirpur Stadium in Dhaka last March. Based on rankings, Bangladesh were the favorites by virtue of a few decimal points. However, traffic that day was simply one-way as Bangladesh crashed to 58 all out, going on to lose by nine wickets. To make matters worse, Bangladeshi fans did their part to ensure that Asian cricket fans retain their place as the game's most rowdy by pelting the Windies team bus with stones. 

Although their once proud empire is now in virtual ruins, West Indies can boast one little known record: they are the only Test side whose first-string squad has never lost to Bangladesh in the game's two premier formats. Bangladesh does have a victory in the T20 format though. 

West Indies Scouting Report

The Caribbean entourage will still be stocked by its traditional weapon of choice: pace like those of Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, and Andre Russell can all crack helmets with their pace and aggression. Roach in particular has had great success against the Tigers dating back to his debut series. Rampaul was a handful to the Indian batsman earlier this year, and he will likely repeat that consistency here in Tagore's Golden Bengal. Edwards is one of the most exciting fast bowlers around, and if he can stay healthy, Bangladesh will have to be ready to play on the backfoot. West Indies also have a leg spinner of note for the first time in recent memory. Divendra Bishoo is young, but has made an immediate impact for his team. The fact that Bangladesh has a primary left handed lineup might serve to lessen some of his bite, but the really great bowlers always find ways to take wickets. 

On the batting front, the tourists are going with much more inexperience than they are used to. Chris Gayle's continued spat with the West Indies Cricket Board means his career may very well be over. This will no doubt ease the minds of many Bangladeshi supporters as Gayle is one of those rare batsman who can be equally destructive in all three formats of the game. Shivanarine Chanderpaul returns as one of the few guys with lots of experience, and his wicket will be crucial in the Test series. With the Gayle-Chanderpaul-Sarwan trio gone, the Windies are looking to forge a new trio with youngsters like Adrian Barath, Craig Braithwaite, and Darren Bravo. Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels are more experienced and have the potential to be world class batsman. Kieron Pollard is an explosive man down the order and dismissing him early is the only way to contain him. 

Bangladesh Scoop

Bangladesh's recent form is quite dreary. They were vanquished in Zimbabwe just a couple of months ago, and they have more questions than answers in their batting lineup. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib al Hasan are the only certainties, and they have been relieved of their leadership roles, so hopefully they can focus on batting alone. Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad are the new leaders, but they are prone to suffering from indifferent form especially in the limited overs game. The perennially unreliable duo of Mohammad Ashraful and Alok Kapali are sure to make comebacks and fans can only hope they live up to even some of their immense innate talent. Shahriar Nafees, Shuvagoto Hom, and several others have endured appalling form with the bat, but are expected to retain their spots for the series. Naeem Islam did make some serious noise to be given a top order position, but has gone silent once more. 

The bowling will be a bit more at ease now that Test spearhead, Shahadat Hossain, is back and seems to have hit some form. It will be interesting to see if his pace has returned and if his waywardness has disappeared. Rubel Hossain has been very consistent for the past several games, and his pace and swing will be a godsend for Bangladesh especially since Shafiul Islam's form has been nowhere in sight. Nazmul Hossain will be counted on to provide controlled seam bowling for the host side. Given the West Indies historical weakness, Bangladesh will be inclined to include up to three spinners per playing XI. Abdur Razzak, Shakib, Surawardi Shuvo, Mahmudullah, Naeem and rookie Nasir Hossain can all be expected to have a go at some point during this month long tour. Bangladesh perhaps should have at least considered adding veteran Enamul Haque Jr to the squad as well. 

Fixtures

One T20I (Dhaka)

Three ODIs (Dhaka, Chittagong)

Two Tests (Chittagong, Dhaka)

Recent Head-to-Head

West Indies won World Cup match (ODI, Mar 2011)

West Indies won one-off match (T20I, Jul 2009)

Bangladesh won 3-0 (ODIs, Jul 2009)

Bangladesh won 2-0 (Tests, Jul 2009)

Bangladesh won World Cup match (T20I, Sep 2007)

West Indies won World Cup match (ODI, Apr 2007)

Recent Head-to-Head in Bangladesh

No matches since Dec 2002

Squad

(T20I and ODI series) Mushfiqur Rahim (*,+), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib al Hasan, Alok Kapali, Naeem Islam, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Elias Sunny, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Surwardi Shuvo, Shariar Nafees, Shuvagoto Hom, Shahadat Hossain

(Test series Probables)  Mushfiqur Rahim (*,+), Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Ashraful, Shakib al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Shahriar Nafees, Shuvagoto Hom, Shahadat Hossain, Abdur Razzak

Prediction

Look for the Windies to walk all over Bangladesh in the lone T20 affair. The ODI series should be more competitive and I think it will be 2-1 to whichever side plays better over the course of three games. The Test series will likely be a 2-0 sweep for the West Indies, with their relative inexperience in the batting department meaning that both games will probably be extremely close. 

Men of the Test Series: Kemar Roach (WI), Tamim Iqbal (BAN)

Men of the ODI Series: Darren Bravo (WI), Rubel Hossain (BAN)

 

About the author(s): Asaad Wahid is a distinguished member of Banglacricket forum and he goes by the nick al Furqaan.

 

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