Monday, 5 December, 2022

Can Bangladesh really challenge India in ODIs?

Can Bangladesh really challenge India in ODIs?

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Can Bangladesh really challenge India by following their favoured batting template in the three ODIs, scheduled from December 4?

The Bangladesh Cricket Board introduced Bangladesh Cricket League’s one-day version last season after completing the four-day tournament but this time round board decided to organise it before the longer-version to make sure that probable members of the ODI squad get some much-needed match practice ahead of the series.

BKSP venue was chosen to host the tournament comprised of four teams- BCB South Zone, BCB North Zone, BCB Central Zone and Islami Bank Zone- while members of the selection panel were closely looking at how the batsmen fare in the middle at the lone sports organisation of the country, known for producing wickets that is suitable for producing runs.

However, it looked like it was more suited for bowlers than batsmen as Mohammad Saifuddin and Mehidy Hasan grabbed five wickets apiece while Taijul Islam and Ebadat Hossain wrote their name on the wicket-takers list by picking four wickets.

From a batting perspective, three half-centuries were scored respectively by Yasir Ali (80), Towhid Ridoy (66) and Mohammad Naim (50) while Mushfiqur made a struggling 44.

However, the mindset carried by the batsmen never suggested that they were trying anything close to 270 or 280 and it seemed that they would have been pretty happy posting around 250 runs. In fact, BCB South Zone posted 199 runs to win the game by 72 runs against BCB North Zone while in the other game Islami Bank Zone lost by 114 chasing 255 to win against BCB Central Zone.

Selectors have already announced that they will announce the ODI squad after watching two rounds of BCL only to suggest that they want to be sure where everyone stands in the 50-over format ahead of selecting the squad.

Tamim (18) can only blame him as he nicked a ball that was pitched outside the off stump as he could resist from throwing the bat at the delivery that could have been easily left but the way Mahmudullah got out, who scored a struggling eight runs from 21 balls, trying to clear the ropes against Mehidy Hasan Miraj only exposed his lack of match fitness if not anything else.

After being excluded from the T20 set-up Mahmudullah decided not to take part in any competitive cricket and decided not to travel with Bangladesh ‘A’ team in Chennai for the ODI series.

The decision of not going to India surely looked to have backfired considering he seemed to look out of sorts and it can really make the host pay considering if he doesn’t score down the middle-order chances are high they won’t be able to post a competitive total.

“I think he should have gone to India with the ‘A’ team because in that case he would have been playing cricket and there is no better way to prepare than playing matches,” a BCB selector told The Daily Sun in BKSP in a disappointing note after seeing the dismissal of the experienced campaigner.

He added that they need to understand that they need to play aggressively against India if they want to challenge them in the ODIs.

“We are playing ODIs after a while so we must give everyone some time but at the same time we have to understand that against India posting anything around 250 or 260 won’t be safe so you have to bat with a bit more attacking mindset than we often do at home,” he said.

Mehidy feels that BCL is a good platform to prepare for the ODIs against India while echoing the sentiment carried by the selectors adding that their top five batsmen need to perform if they want to post a competitive total on the board.

“I think BCL is a good platform to prepare for the India ODIs as we are not playing one day for a while,” Mehidy said.

“Look in ODIs; you have to score 280 to 300 runs because than bowlers can defend the total and it is a matter of habit. We are playing good cricket posting 260 to 270 runs (at home) and in some matches, we scored around 300 runs but in big events, 250 or 260 runs are not safe and if only the top five take the challenge we can post a total around 280 to 300 runs,” he said.

Yasir Ali, who is expected to be part of the top six in the Bangladesh batting line-up if Mahmudullah fails to regain his full confidence back before the India series, feels that if they can post around 280 runs it will be sufficient for them to challenge the opponent.

“We are not thinking too much about putting 280 or 300 runs on the board because we can only think about it after we start to practice because then we will know in which kind of wicket we are going to play but if we score 280 it will be 300 runs for our opponent because we will have home advantage,” he said.

Bangladesh experienced batsman Mahmudullah needs to be on a song while others need to contribute if they plan to post around 300 in the ODIs against India but the way they struggled in the opening phase of BCL it looks easier said than done.