Bangladesh crickter Taskin
Melbourne, Australia (BBN)-A left-arm spinner in every family, small batsmen who pack a punch, a fan base more passionate than any other: the stereotypes about Bangladesh cricket are many, only, no clichés about intimidating quicks yet exist.
The World Cup in the Antipodes, though, may be where they begin to change that, says captain Mashrafe Mortaza.
The experience of Shakib al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim had been critical to Bangladesh’s innings against Afghanistan, but it was the Bangladesh quicks’ opening bursts that provided the definitive period of the match.
Mashrafe himself claimed 3 for 20, helping reduce Afghanistan to 3 for 3 alongside Rubel Hossain.
Both Rubel and Taskin Ahmed also impressed with their pace and intensity – Rubel hitting a speed of 145kph during the evening.
Their next opponents, Sri Lanka, had been rattled by the pace of the Afghanistan attack, on Sunday
“We don’t like backing our pace bowlers in Bangladesh, but we have good pace bowlers,” Mashrafe said.
“After just one game, everyone is talking about Taskin and Rubel, that they can bowl well and with good pace. There is true bounce in these wickets so we have to play the extra pace bowler.”
Mashrafe’s backing of his quicks comes just three days after seamer Al-Amin Hossain was sent home from the World Cup, after it was revealed the bowler had broken a team curfew on February 19.
Mashrafe said his team’s performance would not be affected by the distraction, and joined bowling coach Heath Streak in welcoming the know-how replacement bowler Shafiul Islam brings with him.
“The Al-Amin chapter is over in this World Cup, and we can’t bring him back even if we want to,” Mashrafe said. “I think we are one of the most disciplined teams in the tournament, and the one who broke the rules got punished.
“Shafiul is an experienced player, which Al-Amin doesn’t have, and Shafiul has won us some games at this level. We will fight with what we have.”
Though Sri Lanka have had a modest beginning to the tournament, Bangladesh have historically fared poorly against them, winning only four ODIs and losing 32.
Sri Lanka were particularly dominant in 2014, when they kept Bangladesh winless in the bilateral series in February, before defeating them again in the Asia Cup.
Kumar Sangakkara has also especially enjoyed playing Bangladesh, having hit four of his 21 ODI tons against them.
“We are not really thinking of what happened last year,” Mashrafe said. “The same talk of revenge came up before the Afghanistan match as well. The past hardly matters when I am out in the middle – I don’t really think of that. We could be under pressure if we are thinking of Sangakkara’s career record. Luck matters too, and so far it has worked in our favour.”
Totals of more than 300 have been common so far in the tournament, and Mashrafe said his batsmen were capable of making big scores. However, he remained wary of the threat posed by Lasith Malinga, who is yet to arrive at his best form, having recently recovered from ankle surgery.
“I have spoken to Malinga today. I think it doesn’t take long to get back into form. He is the best in death bowling so I am sure those batting in the lower order will have plans about him and are preparing themselves.”
BBN/AS-25Feb15-4:30pm (BST)