Tigers plot surprise in shorter form
Mashrafe Mortaza has warned England that Bangladesh are at their strongest in one-day cricket as he attempts to mastermind a first win in their history over England.
After winning every match on their winter tour to the sub-continent and then sweeping the recent two-match npower Test series on home soil, England remain the only Test nation Bangladesh have not beaten in any format.
While England have never been in serious peril against Test cricket’s newest nation, only an imperious chase by century-maker Eoin Morgan stopped the Tigers breaking their duck in a one-dayer in Dhaka earlier this year.
Mortaza, 26, who was unavailable due to fitness and personal issues then but has been restored to the captaincy for the NatWest Series, believes an ODI represents their best chance of upsetting the odds.
“It isn’t going to be easy against England. We have to play good cricket and hopefully perform well this time,” he said.
“I think we are a better team in one-day cricket than in Test cricket and I think this game suits us more.
“A few of the batsman in our side are in good form and hopefully a few other guys can join in.
“Tamim Iqbal is definitely a guy who can change the game for us. We are looking for him (to perform) but not just him: Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Jahurul Islam too.
“There are a few guys who can do good things for us and hopefully they will do that here.”
Bangladesh’s odds would undoubtedly have been a little longer had Kevin Pietersen been on duty for England, but he is out of the series with a thigh strain.
Pietersen would nevertheless have been rested - with heavily-worked spinner Graeme Swann also standing down this week in favour of James Tredwell - but Mortaza insists Bangladesh would rather have faced England’s star name.
“Playing against Pietersen is a great experience for us,” he said.
“A player like him is amazing to play against and when KP plays we feel we can learn so many things from him, so it’s not good for us (that he is injured).”