Windies announces ODI squad: closer contest expected
Test series just concluded on historic whitewashing of the touring West Indies by host Bangladesh. Three matches One Day International (ODI) series starts on 9 December. [Read in Bangla: বাংলাদেশের বিপক্ষে উইন্ডিজের শক্তিশালী ওয়ানডে দলে ঘোষণা]
Bangladesh in its last ODI series against Zimbabwe achieved white wash winning all three matches comfortably. They also won the last ODI series against West Indies 2-1. Two leading players Shakib and Tamim back in action and charismatic Mashrafe leading the team Bangladesh starts favorite. But given the relative strength of the two teams and nature of the format, ODI series may not be as lopsided as the test series.
Bangladesh ranks higher than West Indies in ODI. Bangladesh was automatic qualifier for ICC world cup 2019. West Indies had to qualify for it playing with the bottom tier teams and ICC associate member countries. One must not forget once West Indies was unbeatable team in all formats including ODI during 1970s and 1980s .
They won the first two editions of Prudential World cup in 1975 and 1979. Bangladesh had glorious records in ICC world Cup in 2007 and 2015. These days Bangladesh proves competitive with any team anywhere in ODI.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (Captain), Shakib Al Hasan (Vice Captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Saif Uddin, Mehidy Hasan Miraj, Ariful Haque, Nazmul Hasan Opu, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman , Abu Haidar Rony.
Rovman Powell (capt.), Marlon Samuels, Roston Chase, Devendra Bishoo, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Carlos Brathwaite, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Fabien Allen, Kemar Roach, Sunil Ambris, Oshane Thomas
We have seen spin and spinning track dominated the test series. ODI series may not be won by spinners or spinning wickets. This series would be a preparatory event for the ensuing ICC World Cup 2019. Bangladesh squad has four front line pacers and two pace bowling all rounder.
The squad has four opening batsmen and three spinners. Possibly two of the three among Kayes, Liton Das and Soumya would be in the playing XI. With Shanon Gabriel back in action Bangladesh would have to deal with Roach, Kemo Paul, and another pacer threat with the new ball.
Tamim Iqbal will need to get back to his form on return from injury, Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar did not perform well in tests. They have to rediscover form. Soumya as always is uncertain. I think the team could have had an additional middle order batsman instead of four openers. Performance in the first ODI will evidence whether Bangladesh squad have horses for the courses. As far as middle order batting is concerned Mithun shows lots of promise, Mushfiq and Mahmudullah are in great form, Shakib has just started getting into his strides.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz has started batting confidently. Saifuddin and Ariful should be given enough opportunity to mature at capable aggressive late middle order batsmen. Bangladesh lacks power hitting in slog overs. 20-30 additional runs at that stage makes lots of difference. But having said all these a good opening partnership will be half done. The main strength of this West Indians is the new ball bowlers.
Mashrafe would spearhead the bowling attack. Mustafiz and Rubel will be his partners. Not sure whether Bangladesh will peak a fourth pacer as they did against India and South Africa in the past. But this West Indians have shown weakness against spin. I would not be surprised if Bangladesh plays Nazmul Apu also alongside Shakib and Miraj. This diverse bowling attack may defend any score above 250 is Bangladesh can replicate the excellent fielding of the second test.
There has been lots of talks in social media about Mashrafe joining politics and going for election. The cricket Icon himself cleared his position in a press meet. Cricket is his bread and butter. He has put everything into his cricket through out his injury interrupted glorious career. He had dreams for serving people.
Now opportunity has arrived and he wants to grab it with both hands. However, he made is crystal clear that Cricket as always remains his priority. Nothing would divert his attention away from Cricket. As always, he is hungry for success in ODI series. West Indies would definitely go all out to bounce back. They are far better team in ODI. The series would not be a piece of pie for Bangladesh.
Best of luck to Mashrafe and his tiger squad.