If one looks at Bangladesh’s record against Pakistan, it is abysmal. In 47 international matches spread across formats, Bangladesh have registered just one victory and it came in an ODI 16 years ago during the 1999 World Cup match in Northampton. They have lost 25 consecutive ODIs against them since that day. In the list of bogey teams, Pakistan’s name is right on top for Bangladesh. However, in a fresh season, it is time for a new beginning.
It is a new era for Pakistan. With Misbah-ul-Haq retiring from ODIs after the end of the World Cup, the team will be led by Azhar Ali, who last played an ODI two years ago. During his time, Azhar has demonstrated a cool head and the tourists will be hoping for some stability in his leadership.
Already, players from both camps are having their say. Shakib Al Hasan said this series was the best opportunity for Bangladesh to register a win over Pakistan. In the opposition camp, allrounderMohammad Hafeez pointed out that Pakistan have the resources but cautiously stated that Bangladesh are an improved team. On paper, Pakistan are favorites to continue the dominance but Bangladesh will be determined to snap this losing streak. The home team have already made the right start after a BCB XI defeated a full strength Pakistan team by one wicket during a warm-up match in Fatullah on Wednesday.
Venue: Shere Bangla Stadium, Mirpur
Date: April 17, 2015
Time: 14:30 local
Shakib Al Hasan, who was playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 8, will come back to lead the team in the first ODI after Mashrafe Moratza was ruled out due to a knee injury. The team will also see Rony Talukdar making his ODI debut. Talukdar was the most consistent performer in the Bangladesh domestic circuit last year when he scored 714 runs in the Dhaka Premier Division while he also made 777 runs in the National Cricket League games. He will partner Tamim Iqbal as Bangladesh search for stability at the top. The batting will once again revolve around the trio of Shakib, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, who became the first Bangladesh player to score consecutive centuries in the World Cup.
1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Rony Talukdar, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (c), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Sabbir Rahman, 8 Nasir Hossain, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Abul Hasan, 11Taskin Ahmed
The scoreline for Pakistan already reads 3-0. They have lost three players heading into the series. Sohaib Maqsood was ruled out due to a fractured wrist while Sohail Khan, who impressed in the 2015 World Cup, will miss the series due to a back injury. During the warm-up game in Fatullah, Yasir Shah sustained a hand injury which required stitches, thus ruling him out for the ODI series.
However, in addition to a new captain, Pakistan will also welcome back Junaid Khan, who missed the World Cup due to a knee injury and Saeed Ajmal, who will play his first international match after remodelling his action. The team will also see some fresh faces in 22-year-old Mohammad Rizwan, the back-up keeper to Sarfraz Ahmed and also 19-year-old Sami Aslam, who captained the Pakistan U-19 team in the 2014 World Cup. The presence of Junaid and Ajmal will be reassuring for a team that has struggled in bilateral series. In the last 13 ODIs, they have won just three games. Pakistan will aim to improve their record in bilateral ODIs in a new season.
1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Sami Aslam, 3 Haris Sohail, 4 Azhar Ali (c), 5 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 6 Asad Shafiq, 7 Saad Nasim, 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Rahat Ali/Ehsan Adil
‘We break down mentally when we lose a practice match abroad. Pakistan might be having the same thought process, which will have some effect on the first game. We will try to play better cricket.’ – Bangladesh legspinner Sabbir Rahman fires a psychological salvo at Pakistan following a win by the BCB XI over them in Fatullah on Wednesday.
‘It might look easy to beat them but they never been as easy. For the last 2-3 years, they have developed into a good team.’ – Pakistan allrounder Mohammad Hafeez has urged his team not to take Bangladesh lightly.Teams:Pakistan (From): Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali(c), Haris Sohail, Saad Nasim, Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmed(w), Asad Shafiq, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Rahat Ali, Sami Aslam,Mohammad Rizwan, Ehsan AdilBangladesh (From): Tamim Iqbal, Rony Talukdar, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan(c), Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Rubel Hossain,Taskin Ahmed, Abul Hasan, Mominul Haque