Team Tigers is still regrouping from the comprehensive white wash in the Test series against South Africa. On tour against the same opponent can Tigers turn the tide?
On tour against the same attack it is not easy at all recovering from mental scar so easily. But Bangladesh boosted by appearance of charismatic captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and buoyant Shakib Al Hasan must be in a much better stead in ODI, their own forte in recent years.
But South Africa also will have different look in ODI with Duminy, de Villiers and David Miller back in action. One thing for sure ODI will have much closer contests. Bangladesh in recent times has proved to be a very tough competitor in this format of the game winning matches regularly against stronger oppositions at home and abroad.
They qualified for the semifinals of the last champions trophy played in England when teams like Australia and South Africa had early exit. Bangladesh also beat South Africa 2-1 when the teams met last in the bilateral series played in Bangladesh.
But this will be a different series played on different surfaces in completely different environment.
Probable Teams South Africa Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (capt), JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, David Miller, Wayne Parnell, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada and Imran Tahir
Bangladesh Tamim Iqbal, Litton Das ,Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman and Rubel Hossain.
South Africa will have very strong batting strength. Amla is in prolific form. de Kock did not get much opportunity for batting in Test. But in recent times he batted exceptionally well. du Plessis is also in great form. Duminy has announced retirement from longer version, de Villiers will be returning to active cricket after a while and David Miller is a devastating batsman in this format.
In Parnell, Rabada, Pretorius and Phehlukwayo South Africa have specialist ODI attack. It will not be easy at all for Bangladesh turning around against such a strong unit. On the other hand with Mashrafe, Shakib and Nasir added Bangladesh will have a much rejuvenated unit.
Tamim is still not very sure having missed the lone practice match after missing the second Test through injury. It will be interesting to notice whether Bangladesh opts for four prong pace attack or sticks to spin heavy option to strengthen their batting.
Test Captain Mushfiqur thought his bowlers let Bangladesh down in the tests. But the batsmen did not perform at all well in Tests also. Bangladesh will have to vastly improve their performance in all departments of the game to prove competitiveness.
Who else than Mashrafe can inspire them doing that. In Test Bangladesh batsmen could neither leave the short fast deliveries aimed at rib cages nor had skills defending them. But in ODI, bowlers would have different approaches.
Bangladeshi batsmen have to contain Rabada and Tahir. No score less than 280 plus would be defendable against very strong proteas batting of Amla, de Cock, du Plessis, Duminy, de Villiers and Miller.
For that senior pros like Tamim, Shakib, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah must put their acts together. With all-rounders like Shakib, Nasir and mini all-rounders like Sabbir, Mahmudullah and Miraz in the team Bangladesh should perform better.
But Bangladesh must put the horror of Test series behind them as bad dreams and start the ODI campaign with new vigor. In ODI Bangladesh is definitely a fierce competitor and has proven track records in the recent past; it is not easy at all recovering from mental scar so easily.