Shakib targets England scalp
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan has set his sights on completing his country’s full set of international scalps during the one-day series with England.
Ten years after being inducted into the Test family, the Tigers have completed competitive victories over every opponent except England.
Most pundits believe if that record is to be broken it is more likely to be in the 50-over format rather in Test cricket, which means the three-match ODI series which begins in Mirpur tomorrow has taken on plenty of significance for the hosts.
“We will try to win at least one game,” said Shakib, the world’s number one all-rounder according to the International Cricket Council ratings.
“Hopefully we can win two to win the series but we will target our first match and then go step by step.
“If we play to our ability, it’s possible. Obviously when playing at home we know we are a very good team, with home advantage. We are definitely a better team at home.”
England are without rested captain Andrew Strauss for the tour, as well as the injured James Anderson.
“There are plusses and minuses. Hopefully the team (England) will struggle to cope with the conditions here, but at the same time the new players who have come in will be desperate to perform and show their worth,” Shakib said. “Hopefully Bangladesh will play the conditions better.”
The hosts head into the series without one of their most talented batsmen after former captain Mohammad Ashraful asked to be rested following a poor run of scores.
That came as a surprise to coach Jamie Siddons, who had tried to persuade Ashraful to play his way back into form.
“I spoke to Ash at the end of the New Zealand series and he said he wanted a rest,” said Australian Siddons.
“I thought I’d talked him out of it, so I’m not sure what’s happened in the last three or four days I’ve been away.
“But he’s made his decision and I respect it, even though I’d love to have him at three or four in our Test and ODI team.
“He’s the little diamond in the rough we are looking for, that we need to step up along with Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib.
“Those guys have really stepped up and if Ash can fill the gap we’re a formidable batting team.”