Much to prove as Windies, Bangladesh renew rivalry
ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) — West Indies and Bangladesh play the first of three One Day Internationals here today with much to prove following a trail of poor performances in series this year.
The two sides are renewing a rivalry which reached a thrilling high point when Bangladesh, with a gritty performance, clinched a tie-breaker to earn a 3-2 win in their last ODI series at home.
"I am excited with the One-Day team that is selected. We are 10 games away from a prestigious tournament which is the 2015 World Cup, so this is part of preparation," said Dwayne Bravo, West Indies captain.
"It is an opportunity for us to start back winning cricket games and winning series."
Seven members of the Bangladesh outfit have toured the West Indies before while the likes of Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Shamsur Rahman and Sohag Gazi have visited with Bangladesh-A.
Only Anamul Haque, Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain have not toured the Caribbean.
"I enjoy playing cricket here personally. The last time I played here I got six wickets in an ODI game against Zimbabwe, so it's good to start here and it's always good to play on grounds that you have good memories," the captain Mushfiqur Rahim said, referring to the National Stadium in Grenada
"Let's hope that the luck remains and things continue to go in our favour. We have two games here and if we can close the series off right here in Grenada it's gonna be good."
The visitors are expected to rely heavily on the in-form Rahim, who will be hoping that Tamim, Nasir, Mahmudullah, Razzak and Gazi would return to form.
Bangladesh will have high expectations of main strike bowler Mashrafe Mortaza but would harbour concerns for their spin attack since Abdur Razzak and Sohag Gazi have been poor so far this year despite playing all their cricket in home conditions.
They are without their leading player Shakib Al Hasan.
Al Hasan is serving a six-month suspension.
Bangladesh, who have only drawn one Test against Sri Lanka and won two T20s, against Nepal and Afghanistan, will be hoping to use the series to end a losing streak this year in One-Day cricket, their favourite format.
On the other hand, under Bravo, West Indies have now won three out of seven ODIs this year.
Bravo himself has been the team's best batsman and bowler, averaging 93.50 and taking 12 wickets in seven ODIs.
But apart from Lendl Simmons, none of the other batsmen has even crossed 200 runs this year, while none has reached double figures in the wickets column apart from left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, who has taken 10 wickets.
However, since last month, West Indies players have been busy in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with Simmons emerging the tournament's top-scorer and in third position Chris Gayle, who has not played an ODI since November last year when he pulled his hamstring.
Among the bowlers, Ravi Rampul was the leading wicket-taker and Sunil Narine the only other bowler in the ODI squad among the top 10.
"Roachie (Kemar Roach) has been out through injury, Ravi has been our best bowler, also there is Jerome Taylor, who is back into cricket and you can't forget Jason Holder, who has done great things since he came back into international cricket," said Bravo.
"I am very happy that all those players are playing cricket and that they are fit and available."
The home side lost a three-match Test series against New Zealand this year and won a three-match T20 series against England and a one-off ODI against Ireland.
The Bangladesh players are in a part of the world where they have put their best cricket on show, having achieved several milestones.
These include their best World Cup campaign when they beat India to move into the Super Eight and in 2009 picking up their first overseas Test-series win playing a third rate regional side amid a players' strike.
"We have to play aggressive cricket. We have to play hard," said Bravo.
"We have to play our brand of cricket that we as West Indians know how to play, fearless, batsmen go for our shots, be positive, fast bowlers bowl fast and spinners do their thing."
The first ODI between West Indies and Bangladesh begins 9:30 local time today at the National Stadium.