New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said on Wednesday that they singled out Shakib Al Hasan, the world’s number one all-rounder, as the main threat in next week’s five-match one-day series.
And the Kiwis’ skipper believes that the absence of dashing opener Tamim Iqbal, who was ruled out for the series due to a surgery on his left wrist, is a big loss for the home side who are also going to miss the services of experienced batsman Mohammad Ashraful who was out of the team because of his poor form.
“We have seen the Bangladesh team improved. Obviously Shakib (Al Hasan) is probably their best player, so if we can nullify him we know we are going to win. He is a very good player, he has proven himself particularly in these conditions, so he is probably their main player,” said Vettori when asked who would be their main threat in the series while speaking at an official press conference in Mirpur yesterday.
“I think we have some similarity, we both bat down the order at the same position and we both bowl left-arm spin. And Shakib was captain for a while, so there was some obvious comparison. The key for us hopefully is that we can play a role in our team winning. Obviously you want to try and out-think the opposition as much as you can. And Shakib is probably our main opposition,” he added when asked of his comparison with Shakib.
“Ashraful has been dropped, hasn’t he? Obviously he is not in form. [Tamim] Iqbal is injured, so that’s big loss for Bangladesh. He scored a lot of runs at the top of the order. So he will be a loss throughout the series,” he said.
The 31-year-old all-rounder, who so far played 100 Tests and 255 ODIs, said that the tough task await for them but he was confident about a clean sweep against Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s men.
“I think Bangladesh have improved. They are particularly good at home. Obviously we came here to win but we know it’s going to be a tough series,” said Vettori.
“We are just thinking about those first couple of warm-up games and we just got off to playing. So we know it’s a tough task. But I think you have to play really well to win every game you have and that’s the way to go,” he added when asked whether they were expecting a 5-0 result.
The visitors will play two warm-up games on October 1 and 3 at BKSP before the start of the one-day series on October 5.
The Kiwis skipper reiterated that there was no scope for them to take the Tigers lightly especially at their own den and they need to give their best if they want to win the series convincingly.
“We are confident as we have got some very good players, particularly our batting line-up with (Jesse) Ryder, (Brendon) McCullum and (Ross) Taylor at the top, a lot of expectation on us. We are looking forward to winning the series,” he said.
Vettori once again said that the matches in the subcontinent will work as a build-up tour for the 2011 World Cup
“I think that’s one of the best reasons to be here. To experience the conditions for a number of guys who have not been here before. We are lucky enough to be in Sri Lanka, and then we go to India after this series so we get to go all three host nations before the World Cup,” he said.