England’s much-awaited tour of Bangladesh is all set to begin on 7th October 2016. Both teams will play three one-day internationals and two Test matches on a month-long tour. The series was in news lately due to various reasons citing concerns on the security front. The recent attack in Dhaka in July raised several questions on the security of the cricketers. However, after much discussions and self-assessment, the England Cricket Board (ECB) finally gave their go-ahead for the tour to Bangladesh.
England’s ODI skipper Eoin Morgan and opener Alex Hales have withdrawn from the tour, keeping the security hassles in mind. The responsibility for the leadership of the England ODI side is been handed over to wicketkeeper/batsman Jos Buttler. From last one and half-year, Buttler has played the role of Morgan’s deputy in the English ODI side. This will be a new challenge for Jos to co-op up with the sub-continent conditions against the Bangla tigers.
England is ranked fifth in the ICC ODI Team rankings table, they are only three points behind the fourth-placed India. Their last ODI series win against Pakistan at home will surely give the Three Lions side some confidence. England comprehensively defeated the Men in Green by 4-1 in the five-match ODI series.
Post the World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand, England have worked hard on their limited-overs game and has got some results in their favour as well. The team went through a transition phase and have made some significant changes in the playing eleven. Morgan along with the ECB should be given credit for this turnaround.
The visitors have started their tour on a positive note with a fine win over Bangladesh Cricket Board XI by four wickets in the warm-up match at Fatullah. In absence of Hales and Morgan, the onus will be on players like Sam Billings, Ben Duckett, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes to step up to the plate.
Rusty Bangladesh – A force to reckon with at home
For Bangladesh, Mashrafe Mortaza holds the key as the leader of the side. The hosts recently won a one-day series at home against Afghanistan by 2-1 which will certainly give them a confidence going forward. Meanwhile, the skipper and the coach are wary of the fact that Bangladesh is coming from a long layoff in international cricket and looked a little rusty against minnows Afghanistan. Before, Afghanistan series the home side last played an international match during the ICC World Twenty20 in India in April this year.
The Afghanistan series was arranged in order to give the Bangla tigers some serious match practice before the tough England series. Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe also feels the team’s main focus was to get back to the rhythm as soon as possible.
Similar to England, Bangladesh has been in great form in ODI cricket post-World Cup 2015. In the last one year, the Bangla tigers are almost invincible while playing at home. The team once touted as the ‘minnows of the game’ are no more pushovers in the especially in the limited over format.
Bangladesh has won five ODI series on the trot at home. Mortaza’s men have defeated cricketing giants like India, South Africa, Pakistan and teams like Zimbabwe and Afghanistan in last twelve months.
A huge credit for this transformation goes to Mortaza who led his troops from the front and effectively managed his resources in the 50-over format. Players like Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Taskin Ahmed have made Bangladesh a quality side in world cricket. For the record, Bangladesh is in the seventh spot in the ICC ODI rankings and is above teams like West Indies and Pakistan who are in eighth and ninth position respectively.
The home side is buoyed by the return of pace bowler Taskin Ahmed, who is cleared by ICC to bowl in international cricket. He picked up seven wickets against Afghanistan in the three-match ODI series. Bangladesh has also recalled fast bowler Al-Amin Hossain for the one-day internationals against England.
The surprise factor was the left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain, who made his first one-day appearance in eight years for Bangladesh in the third ODI against Afghanistan. The 34-year old played a vital role and finished with figures of 3-24 in the final ODI. He has retained his place in the Bangladesh squad against England.
Bangladesh Squad (ODI): Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mosaddek Hossain, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Mosharraf Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed.
England Squad (ODI): Jos Buttler (C),Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wk),Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Chris Woakes.
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