‘Tigers when compared with Kangaroos’

Bangladesh vs Australia Test Series'17Saleque Sufi
It is not like that Tigers play against Kangaroos too often in any format of international cricket. It is after 11 long years Bangladesh and Australia will have a bilateral contest in Tigers den.

It is almost over two decades Australia is a leading cricket playing nation in the world. Bangladesh has just started finding its feet in world cricket having four to five experienced high quality matured players and few other budding geniuses.

They are a formidable force to reckon with limited over format of the game having beaten all but Australia in bilateral ODI contests or international tournaments.

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In Test cricket also they have drawn series with England at home and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Australian cricket went through a series of turmoil in recent times over payment disputes between players organisation (ACA) and Cricket Australia (CA). Players in uncertain situation never even practiced at that period of time.

But following win –win resolution of the dispute, Australian team had about a week’s intensive preparation in Darwin before moving to Bangladesh. Bangladesh on the other hand had a long preparation for the series.

Slow low turning wickets suits Bangladesh much better. Wickets those blunt the pace and bounce of Aussie speedsters would come to Bangladesh benefit. While quality and variety of spin attack will take serious examination of the young Australian team which other than Warner, Khawaja, Smith and Maxwell have mostly inexperienced relatively new comers.

The series will start on 25 August in Dhaka. Bangladesh after a bit of controversy announced the 14 men squad. The omission of Mominul and Mahmudullah created great noise in media.

In only 24 hours the decision of dropping automatic Test choice talented Mominul returned to the squad. Talented youngster Mosaddeq Hossain has not recovered from eye infection. BCB somehow saved face replacing him with Mominul.

The drama acted in the episode in team selection was termed unbecoming and unwarranted in the print, electronic and social media. People of all walks of life strongly protested omission of Mominul and Mahmuduallh.

Feeling the depth and diversion of the protests, BCB President interfered blaming unknown person(s) in the team selection mess. Young Mosaddeq reportedly did not recover from eye infection on time and was replaced by Mominul.

Mahmudullah however remained discarded. This type of immature selection mess served damaging prospects for both Mominul and Mosaddeq.

It is never possible comparing one team or a player with the other. It depends on circumstances, type and nature of wickets, climate and environment, team chemistry and few other factors.

But given the growing stature of team Tigers at home and relative in experience of young Australian team in slow, low turning subcontinental wickets Bangladesh has nose in front. But no one can make safe bet against any Australian team anytime anywhere. They play cricket hard and never say die.

The Squads
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Huq, Mushfiqur Rahim , Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman , Liton K Das , Soumya Sarker , Mehedy Miraj , Taijul Islam , Mustafizur Rahnman , Shafiul Islam and Taskin Ahmed.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Depending on type and nature of the wicket playing XI of the teams may be

Bangladesh
Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Huq, Mushfiqur Rahim , Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mehedy Miraj, Taijul Islam , Mustafizur Rahnman and Shafiul Islam.

Australia
David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Glen Maxwell , Matthew Wade , Ashton Ager,Josh Hazlewood , Nathan Lyon and James Pattinson.

David Warner and Tamim Iqbal are two world class performers. Tamim is the highest Bangladeshi scorer in all formats of international cricket. In recent times he is also in prolific form.

Warner is a very aggressive opening batsman and arguably one of the best in modern day cricket. He also has extensive experience of playing on sub continental wickets having played in IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad with success.

These two will play major roles for their respective teams in the series. Imrul Kayes will be the right choice for partering with Tamim.

We won’t suggest risking Soumya for opening in Tests against very accurate and penetrative Hazzelwod and pacey Pattinson. Soumya despite of his flamboyance remains a suspect against genuine pace in the corridor of uncertainty.

Warner may have young Queenslander Mathew Renshaw as his partner. He is a quality batsman but may struggle a bit on Bangladesh wickets for limited experience. Imrul is a better opener and more experienced than Renshaw.

Pocket Rocket Mominul is a better batsman than Usman Khawaja . Hope the recent melodrama would not leave scar on his morale. Khawja being of Sub continent origin is expected to adjust quickly. Mominul is a quality batsman having sound technique and ice cool temperament. He has a tendency of digging in and playing long innings.

Captains Steve and Mushfiqur can be compared apple to apple in skills, experience and temperament. Smith is among the top batsmen in the world. Mushfiqur also does not lag far behind. Both forms nucleus in their respective teams around which batting would rotate. Smith may have his nose a little in front. But considering the inexperience of his team the major role of Steve is well cut out. Bangladesh must have plan to squeeze him out. Mushfiqur is in a better position. His team has better batsmen around him.

The best all rounder in all format and quality batsman Shakib is better at number 5 than young tall Victorian batsman Peter Handscome. Peter is tall, aggressive and if he can adjust quick he can serve his team well. There is nothing new to write about Shakib.

Bangladesh will miss the quality and experience of Mahmudullah at number six . In all consideration Nasir Hossain should be slotted in. But he will have to find his way back being ignored for a long time.

Bangladesh may be tempted to play Litton K Das at number six. But all round ability of Nasir will put him in better stead over Litton or Sabbir. Australia may play Hilton Cartwright or Glen Maxwell at six. Both are better batsman than Nasir.

Mehedi Miraz would bat at seven and Matthew Wade will possibly play for Australia at seven. Talented Mehedi has just started delivering with the bat. Wade has rescued his team on many occasions from crisis.

Taijul, Shafiul / Taskin and Mustafiz would complete Bangladesh XI while Ashton Ager,Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and James Pattinson will make the Australian team. Kangaroos usually have strong hind legs. Australian tail always wags. But we are not sure on turning tracks how much they can contribute. But Ashton Ager may tilt the balance a little bit in Aussie’s favour.

Hazelwood as proto of great McGrath gives an edge to Australian pace attack over Bangladesh. Pattinson is also a genuine quick and may threaten Bangladesh with genuine pace. Both are tall and can get disconcerting bounce from even dead wickets.

We are not sure how Mustafiz and Shafiur or Taskin would match them. The success of Bangladesh batsmen would largely depend on how well they play Ausssie pacers.

Bangladesh with Mehedi Miraz, Shakib and Taijul would definitely have distinct edge over Australian spin attack. Nathan Lyon is a class act. He has extensive experience and may turn the tide in favor of the tourists with brilliant spells. Bangladesh must cut out playing reverse sweeps and taking undue risks against him.

Left arm spinner Ashton Ager may also like Bangladesh wicket to suit his type of bowling. Maxwell and may be even Smith may also try their arms. Aussie batsmen will encounter major challenge of Bangladeshis spinners.

We all know how aggressive and sharp is the Australian team in the field. Bangladesh will have to field well and take their chances. One must not forget the experience of Fatullah in 2006 when one drop catch of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza caused Bangladesh a great opportunity of winning the Test.

Ricky Ponting played a superb innings to rescue his team. Bangladesh must not also lose focus at any stage of the Tests and should not forget how of all batsmen, Jason Gillespie scored double century in Chittagong Test.

In any case cricket is played on the field and not on paper. We can write encyclopaedia on paper but players have to perform in the field to win or lose contest. But given team chemistry, condition a mouth-watering contest is on the card.