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As Bangladesh is all set to commence their third full tour of the West Indies, Sandipan Banerjee finds out the visitors chances in the Caribbean islands without their best player Shakib Al Hasan.
2014 so far has been a dreadful year for Bangladesh cricket. They have won nothing so far and their Asia cup and ICC World T20 campaign (on home soil) were forgettable to say the least. They even lost to teams like Afghanistan in ODIs and Hong Kong in T20s. Their best player and current number one Test all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan was banned by Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for disciplinary reasons. In this circumstances the Mushfiqur Rahim-led team will be commencing their third full tour of the West Indies with a three match One-day series, starting on Wednesday.
West Indies has always been a happy hunting ground for the Bangla tigers, as their fans call them. In 2004, on their first tour of the Caribbean, for the first time Bangladesh drew a Test match without the help of rain. 2007 world cup was another remarkable tour for Bangladesh, where Habibul Bashar’s boys managed to beat giants like India and South Africa. But their most successful tour was in 2009, in which the Asian minnows beat the hosts in Test and ODI series. Though it was a weak West Indian side, it was a win nevertheless.
Cricket in the Caribbean is nothing less than a party, but the Bangladesh team won’t be in the mood of partying as they need to pull up their socks and give something for their over enthusiastic supporters to cheer for. But this time around it will be tough for them to repeat 2009′s success as Shakib Al Hasan, their best player is unfortunately not in the side for non-cricketing reasons. In the absence of Shakib, captain Rahim will be expected to be their most dependable in the batting department. He also has to lead from the front as question were raised against his leadership.
Rahim also needs the skills of the experienced group comprising of Tamim Iqbal, Nasir Hussain, Mahmudullah, Abur Razzak and Sohag Gazi to produce noticeable performance in this tour. The contributions of young members of the team like Mominul Haque, Anamul Haque, Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain will also be crucial. Among these players Anamul, Taskin and Al Amin will be playing cricket in this part of the world for the first time.
This series will be new coach Chandika Hathurusingha’s first assignment with the Bangladesh team and to make it memorable one the whole team need to play together as an unit.
The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) has just finished and the worn-out pitches will favour spinners. Mahmudullah, Abur Razzak and Sohag Gazi will become handy then.
This is perhaps the best time for Bangladesh to play in the Caribbean, where few people are expecting them to do well. Rahim’s boys finally will play some cricket without the pressure of their demanding home crowd. If they can produce good performances against the likes of Sunil Narine’s and Chris Gayle‘s, the controversies that has plagued Bangladesh cricket recently will certainly take a back seat.
(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at Cricket Country. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)
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