DHAKA : Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons, captain Mohammad Ashraful and Zimbabwe skipper Prosper Utseya give their thoughts on the three-match Grameenphone Series that starts tomorrow (Monday).
The task ahead
We have to make sure that we put a score on the board or bat well when we are chasing. I think the bowling is coming together although the power plays are tough. The power plays are tough for everybody unless you have a (Ajantha) Mendis in your team. We are not executing our skills well enough under pressure during the power play but we are working on it. In batting our top four need to start playing well and I’m looking forward to this series to see if they can do that.
Whether the opening batting was a worry
Definitely. The two guys at the top Tamim (Iqbal) and Imroze (Zunaed Siddique) haven’t made runs for a while now and haven’t put up a big score. I can see how well they are practising and they are the two best guys in the job no one has really put a hand up to take their spot. They are two talented youngsters who are going to do well in the future. We just got to persevere with them and if Ash (Ashraful) starts to step up then the top four would look a lot better.
On the Tri-Nation Cup final
I guess I am happy with the result. I am not happy with a good loss but it was a good loss. We didn’t play great cricket, especially in batting but still almost ended up winning the final and that’s the kind of result we are looking for, a series win. We almost did it against New Zealand but did not bat well. We should have done it in Australia or at least should have won a match. This series I’m hoping we do it and then do the same when Pakistan arrive here but this series is very important to us as far as our top four batting is concerned.
Whether he would persist with Mushfiqur Rahim at number three
Ash might go at number three in this series and beyond that. He needs to lead from the front.
The batting collapse against Zimbabwe in the Tri-Nation Cup
We are not playing reckless shots any more and we are not losing wickets to bad shots. It is just that the boys are unable to find a way to score when the pressure is on them. In the first game their spinners bowled in the right spots and our batsmen should have been smart enough to know how to score four runs an over under pressure. So that was a big learning curve. I am worried about our batting.
On why Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe in the Tri-Nation Cup
We were really confident against Zimbabwe but the first game was a slip up. I think coming off Test cricket into one day cricket we were not ready. We were not ready for the tempo and momentum of one day cricket. It is a faster pace and we needed to score quicker but our guys were in the mood of letting balls go. But we picked ourselves pretty fast and I didn’t think we’d get the bonus point but we got that and in the final it was amazing. Everyone thought we had it and we did not do too much wrong but Murali took it from us.
On his return to number three from number four
Well even from four I had to go into the middle quickly in the last few games and therefore we thought if I am there early and can play a long innings then it will be beneficial for the team. I have batted at number three in most matches since becoming captain but my record is also not bad at four. Th reason I had opted to bat at four was because I thought it was better for me if the ball was a bit older. But for the team combination I will bat at three and I hope to make use of that opportunity.
Whether he predicts a clean sweep
We are all expecting it to be 3-0 if we play good cricket in all three departments. We will go into it match by match. The confidence is up after our performance against Sri Lanka in back to back matches. In the first game I agree with the coach that we could not come off the Test mood.
What he expects from the top order
We have played a number of series’ now against top teams this past year. There was also a series against the comparatively weaker Ireland where the top-order came good. Here I would like to see a hundred in each match from one of the top order batsmen and hopefully I will make runs too if I get going.
The kind of total that can be defended on this track
I guess 200 can be a competitive score if you bowl and field well.
Target in the series
We want to win every match convincingly. That’s how we approach every game we play.
Bangladesh (12): Tamim Iqbal, Zunaed Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful (Captain), Roqibul Hassan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (Wicketkeeper), Naeem Islam, Mahmud Ullah Riyad, Masrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahbubul Alam, Rubel Hossain, Nazmul Hossain
Zimbabwe (From): Prosper Utseya (Captain), Elton Chigumbura, Graeme Cremer, Keith Dabengwa, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Christopher Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa, Forster Mutizwa, Raymond Price, Edward Rainsford, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu (Wicketkeeper), Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams
Match starts: 9:00am Bangladesh Standard Time (0300hrs GMT)
Match Referee: Alan Hurst (Australia)
Umpires: Zameer Haider (Pakistan) & Nadir Shah (Bangladesh)
TV Umpire: Enamul Hoque Moni (Bangladesh)
4th Umpire: Anisur Rahman (Bangladesh)