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19 January, 2021 12:15:06 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 January, 2021 12:17:06 PM

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Tigers face off Windies Wednesday for winning return to int’l cricket

Due to coronavirus situation, no spectators will be allowed at the stadium
BSS, Dhaka
Tigers face off Windies Wednesday for winning return to int’l cricket

Bangladesh is set to make a return to international cricket following a long Covid-19-induced break with a three-match one-day international (ODI) series showdown against a West Indies side, severely depleted by their 12 top players’ decision to pull out of the tour.

The first of the three-match ODI series will be held tomorrow (Wednesday) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur here. Due to coronavirus (Covid-19) situation, no spectators will be allowed at the stadium in the match, which starts at 11.30am.

State-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) as well as private TV channels T-sports and Nagorik TV will air the match live.

The series is being played, keeping the players of the both teams in the bio-bubble, a new normal of the cricket in the pandemic era.

A total of 10 West Indies players including ODI captain Keiron Pollard and Test captain Jason Holder skipped the tour due to Covid-19 fear, while two others remained absent for personal reasons, making it the weakest Caribbean team in the history.

Nonetheless Bangladesh could afford to feel complacent with the series being the part of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, a league that offers direct qualifying spots to the top seven teams apart from hosts India for the next World Cup in 2023.

Introduced last year to add context to ODI cricket, the Super League sees each side play four home and four away three-match series.

Teams get 10 points for a win, five for an abandonment/tie/no result and none for a loss, and ranked according to total points earned. The sides failing to qualify directly get a second shot through the Cricket World Cup Qualifier to be played in June and July of 2023.

Since away series points are tougher to achieve given their track record, points at home series would be crucial in Bangladesh’s aspiration for the direct World Cup qualification.

“It is a big series for us … World Cup qualifying points are up for grabs. We want to make sure that we can start our campaign really well,” Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo said, highlighting the importance of each and every point in the series.

He went on saying: “We’re definitely focusing one game at a time … we want to start the series well.”

The two sides had already played 38 ODIs, among which Bangladesh won 15 in contrast to the Caribbeans’ 21 and two matches fetched no result. But recent record tilted towards Bangladesh, who is now on a five-match winning streak against West Indies.

Bangladesh, moreover, whitewashed a full strength West Indies in two-match Test series and beat them by 2-1 in three-match ODI series at last bilateral series at home in 2018.

Their recent exploit, coupled with West Indies’ depleted condition, made Bangladesh an absolute favourite, leading into the series but they will be wary of the rust that might play its trick, experts said.

The main challenge would be to shed off the rust, created for being absent from the international cricket for last 10 months.

West Indies, meanwhile, played three series amid pandemic though it mattered little as most of the players were not the part of those series.

Experts further argued that lot of unfamiliar faces mean Bangladesh team management would get it tough to devise a plan since they have no adequate data of those players.

Head coach Russell Domingo, however, seemed to be unscathed, stating that the team’s performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekaran had already worked out on those players.

“Shree [Shrinivas] has done some good work for us. He has got footage on pretty much all the players from the CPL and domestic one-day tournaments. He managed to get some of those clips for us,” said the Tigers’ head coach.

After watching their footage, Domingo, the 46-year-old South African, was convinced that Bangladesh would make a great mistake if they take this West Indies side lightly.

The Bangladesh head coach rather said the series is the first step towards the 2023 World Cup as they are looking for a settled unit for the cricket’s biggest extravaganza.

But West Indies simply didn’t want to give up the hopes.

“The target is of course to win the series, to play consistent cricket and in doing so achieve the result what we are aspiring,” Jason Mohammed, the stand-in West Indies captain said.

Their Caribbeans’ head coach Phil Simmons admitted his side will come to the series as underdogs but according to him it eventually could lift their morale.

“The new players are keen to prove their credential. I saw the hunger in their eyes and they all have impressed me … we might be underdogs here but it could lift us,” Simmons said.

The 38-member West Indies squad arrived here on January 10 to play a three-match ODI and two-match Test series against the hosts from January 20.

The first two ODIs will be played in Dhaka on January 20 and 22, while the final game will be held in Chattogram on January 25. The teams will remain in the port city where they will play the first Test (February 3-7) before returning to Dhaka for the second Test beginning February 11.

BK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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