UCB ODI Series – Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe
Onus on Shakib
The five-match one-day series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe begins tomorrow at the Harare Sports Club ground and it is already a huge ask for Shakib Al Hasan’s men to make a quick recovery.
The complexity of the task, especially after the 130-run defeat in the one-off Test match that ended on Monday, was writ large on their faces as they went about their business yesterday, also going through the usual instant knee-jerk reactions that is so common with the Tigers after a loss.
Most of the players were holed up in their rooms all day Tuesday, only getting together in an evening get-together at coach Stuart Law’s behest. It actually would have been a refreshing change had they gone out like most would when visiting a foreign land, but it is a well-known fact that the Tigers easily fear a backlash.
Despite their off-field difficulties, the Tigers have a good limited-overs record in Zimbabwe over the past few years. After their breakthrough win here in 2004, the Tigers have won seven out of the eight one-day series between the two sides. The dominance has a lot to do with the Tigers’ changed mentality since the 3-2 victory at home in 2005, but the massive changes in Zimbabwe have also contributed to it.
Though the recent debacle in the Test match could be marked as one-off (as it was just a single game of cricket), a prime example of a change in competition between the two sides is easily told by Shahriar Nafees’s statistics against Zimbabwe.
In 15 ODIs, Nafees averages 62.41 with three centuries but in his first Test against the southern African side, the left-hander wasn’t his dominant self. After the chancy 50 in the first innings, Nafees found Kyle Jarvis’s angular delivery hard to handle in the fourth evening.
A similar theme could be found in Abdur Razzak’s fortunes in the Test match. Though it was just two innings, the ease with which he was dealt with, the Tigers would hope that it wasn’t repeated in the one-dayers. Razzak’s track record against the Zimbabweans (53 wickets from 25 games) was one of the reasons for his inclusion in the Test but the home batsmen just gave him two wickets here in Harare.
It would ultimately be up to the captain to revitalise his team and as Law mentioned in one of the press conferences during the Test, Shakib’s A-game is when he leads from the front with bat and ball.
The Tigers would dearly love that, as would Shakib want Tamim Iqbal, Razzak, Nafees and Mohammad Ashraful to salvage the remainder of the tour with a series victory.
-With The Daily Star input