Tigers on hunt

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Robi Axiata Limited wins the race to become new sponsor of BangladeshTeam tigers, after couple of weeks of acclimatization of English condition at Sussex County are set to leave for Ireland for participating in the tri nation ODI series.

Two leading players, ICC top ranked all-rounder in all format Shakib Al Hasan and freak genius cutter master Mustafizur Rahman has joined the team after returning from their IPL engagement in India.

Tiger captain Mashrafe had to come to Bangladesh for attending his ailing wife and son. He has also flown back. The team looked well geared in two warm up matches in Sussex scoring over 300 runs in either match.

Also Read - BCCI confirmed India's participation in Champions Trophy

While the first match against Duke of Norfolk could not go to distance for weather interference, the second was comfortably won by team tigers.

All batsmen seem to have found their bearing. Taskin, Subashis and Miraz bowled to their reputation. Only Tamim carrying a minor back spasm was not risked in the warm up matches.

Bangladesh will appear in a warm up match in Ireland before playing twice against Ireland and twice against New Zealand.

Mashrafe will not be able to appear in the first match for a one match ban for his teams slow over rates in the last two ODI matches against Sri Lanka.

Shakib and Mustafiz for game plans and match strategies of their respective IPL franchises KKR and SRH played only one match each.

Bangladesh has great opportunity for advancing further in ODI ranking if they will win all four matches of tri nation series overtaking Sri Lanka which will further cement their standing for directly appearing in ICC world cup 2019 in England.

It will also put them in good stead in Champions Trophy where they would play in Group A having host England and very strong Australia and New Zealand.

Bangladesh would play two warm up matches against India and Pakistan leading to champions trophy.

Without any semblance of doubt one can rate the present team as the best Bangladesh team ever appearing in Champions trophy. Well it is true that England and Wales are always a different forte for teams from Asian sub-continent. But the professional outfit of this team after a reasonable time and getting opportunity for sufficient match practice must prove equal to the task. Bangladesh if not one of the favourites should be tagged as dark horse of the tournament.

The team now has several well established proven performers in Mashrafe, Mushfiqur, Shakib, Tamim, Mahmudullah, Rubel and Kayes.

The brilliant budding youngsters Soumya, Shabbir, Mustafiz, Mehedi Miraz, and Taskin give the team great depth and diversity. The team now possess quality pace attack capable of strking early and in death overs.

Well contained spinners capable of making break throughs, brilliant athletic fielders. Flamboyant Tamim, Soumya can kick off to flying start; Kayes, Sabbir can create momentum at the top, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur can consolidate for Shakib, Mosaddek, Miraz and Mashrafe.

I am not sure holding back Nasir Hossain as reserve for champions trophy is a right decision or not. He should have been in the squad for Champions’ trophy instead of Sanjamul. There is still time to make this change .

Bangladesh will play host England on day one at Oval. Bangladesh has pleasant memory of beating England in both 2011 and 2015 world cup in Chittagong and Adelaide.

Bangladesh marginally lost to England 1-2 in the recent series at home. Well in home condition the present England is among the favourites but Bangladesh is more than capable of making a kick start.

Bangladesh has not played much against Australia. The match in 2015 world cup at Brisbane was rained out. The only win against Australia in ODI was in a triangular series at Cardiff when Mohammad Ashraful played that wonderful aggressive innings.  It can be anybody’s game.

Finally Bangladesh would be eager to avenge their white wash by New Zealand in the recent bilateral series. The teams however will have opportunity of judging each other’s strength in the tri angular series.

The group matches played on round robin basis will have two top teams adavancing to knock out round. Judging from recent form and English condition any two can go ahead. No team even not Bangladesh is underdog.

The Champions trophy kicks off on 1 June. Hope team tigers could make Bangladesh bigger and brighter bringing joy for everyone.

Khondkar Saleque Sufi 

Khondkar Saleque Sufi is an eminent Research Fellow of Monash University, Australia, He was the former Advisor at Ministry of Mines & Petroleum of Republic of Afghanistan and Deputy General Manager of Bakhrabad Gas Systems Ltd.

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