The tigers of Bangladesh are roaring fearlessly in the international cricket arena! The past three to four months have been a joyride for the young brigade, who are motivated and hungry for success. The Bangladeshi team missed out on quite a few interesting games in the past but now they have surely left behind the tag of being the minnows of the trade.
Starting from the ODI series against Pakistan in April, where the visitors were whitewashed 3-0 at home by Bangladesh, the team set a stranglehold on cricketing giants India, defeating them 2-1 in the ODI series as well. In the ongoing one-day series against the mighty Proteas, the hosts are giving the visitors a run for their money, leveling the series 1-1, with the decider to be played on July 15.
The transition from being an average side to a side giving teams like Pakistan and West Indies shivers for a place in the Champions Trophy hasn’t come about overnight. The dedication of the young players along with the experience of the senior players has steadily nurtured a tough and competitive team.
Essentially Sports brings to you the 5 reasons why Bangladesh has become a potent power in world cricket.
1. A leader who goes for the kill.
Mashrafe Mortaza has been captaining the side for quite some time now and he is well aware of the assets he has got. He is not afraid of going for the kill. We saw that attitude against India where Mortaza called in 8 fielders inside the 30-yard circle to stop the flow of runs. And it worked brilliantly! Not only it put a halt on the scoreboard, it also led to dismissals of many Indian batsmen.
Not only the bowlers, Mortaza and the team staff give the batsmen full freedom to go out to bat and play their strokes without hesitation. Bangladesh scored decent totals against Pakistan in the second and third ODI (240 and 251 respectively) in under 40 overs. This tells a story that the captain does not want his team to play safe and get the target around 48-49th over.
The kind of field placing, intelligent bowling changes like handing over the ball to Nasir Hossain and backing young bowlers like Mustafizur Rahman who created a havoc against the Indians, proves that Mortaza is an attacking captain. He loves to take risks and they are paying off well.
2. Outstanding young talent.
Bangladesh introduced a variety of fresh faces in the past series against India and Pakistan, encouraging the likes of Litton Das and Mustafizur Rahman to showcase their talent on the international scale. These young lads are mentally strong and technically sound. The variations that Mustafizur used to tackle the strong Indian batting line-up was simply mindblowing.
Litton Das too has shown hints of promise with some quick thirties in the recent matches. The likes of Taskin Ahmed and Nasir Hossain who are still in the early stages of their career, are producing match-winning performances that is so pleasing to watch.
3. All-round capabilities of players.
The Bangladesh squad has three genuine all-rounders in Shakib-al-Hasan, Nasir Hossain and Mohammad Mahmudullah. All three of them are brilliant players who can come up the order and accelerate the innings at will and can also stabilise the batting coming lower down the order.
Shakib-al-Hasan is the best all-rounder in the world right now in all three formats! He’s probably the biggest asset that the Bangladesh team has. His experience too, is very critical in turning these upcoming stars of Bangladesh cricket into legends of the game.
Mohammad Mahmudullah missed out on the series against India but has a great record with the bat and comes in handy for his captain in delivering a few tight overs.
Nasir Hossain was probably one of the finds of the series against India and Pakistan. His tight bowling spells and regular wicket-taking capabilities turned the game around in a matter of a few overs. Not to forget his outstanding fielding which led to a quite a few dismissals in all three series that Bangladesh has played at home.
4. Openers taking the attack to the opposition.
Time and again, the Bangladeshi openers, Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar has brought the team in a strong position, irrespective of whether they are batting first or chasing.
Against Pakistan, Tamim Iqbal scored two match-winning centuries and Sarkar scored one century in the match where Tamim got out after a fifty. This goes to show that one of the openers drops the anchor even if the other one isn’t along till the end. That’s one quality that many teams still aren’t able to find in their openers.
Against India, both openers gave the team a strong start and ensured that they didn’t give away their wickets easily. Soumya Sarkar played a match-winning 88 against South Africa in the second ODI. The temperament of these openers is really a lesson for teams like India and Pakistan who have always relied on their middle-order to deliver.
5. The hunger and the fighting spirit.
The international stage is not an easy one and with teams playing all year long in many countries and T20 leagues, the level of the players has reached a whole new level. In such a scenario, players often get demoralised after a series of poor performances.
For an upcoming team like Bangladesh, who were considered to be minnows until 2 years back, having a fresh batch of players with an attitude to succeed and make the nation proud is invaluable. The senior players have been through a rigorous patch and didn’t see a lot of success in their early days.
An army of young blood along with the experience of the seniors is doing wonders for Bangladesh cricket. These lads do not quit till the end and are thoroughly motivated to give a fight to their opponent, however weak or strong it may be.
With this new trend in Bangladesh cricket, it’s pretty much sure that other nations will take an inspiration out of it. Bangladesh cricket has a very bright future ahead and it will be interesting to see them in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, now that they have qualified for it.