Consistency key for Bangladesh

Shakib Al Hasan.

On their day Bangladesh can beat anyone, especially in the shortened forms of the day.

But it has been their ability to string together consistent performances that has been their story since entering international cricket. The Bangladeshis are as likely to score 200 in a T20 match as they are likely to be bowled out for 40.

They have played 24 T20 internationals, winning eight and losing 16. Most of their wins have come against associate teams but can boast of having winning records against two Test-playing nations.

They have played the West Indies on three occasions and have won two of those matches and have defeated Zimbabwe in their solitary T20 international encounter.

They are fortunate to be in Zone D along with the struggling New Zealand and the talented but highly unpredictable Pakistan. Two solid performances could see them advance past the preliminary rounds.

The spinning tracks in Sri Lanka will suit their predominantly spin-based attack and in Abdur Razzak, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah they have three bowlers who can thrive in the conditions. Razzak has been their best bowler in T20s, snaring 33 wickets in 21 matches at an economy rate of 6.64.

But it is not their bowling that has been Bangladesh’s main problem over the years, it is woefully inconsistent batting that has been their biggest headache.

This is best exemplified by Mohammad Ashraful. Scorer of a Test hundred at age 17, Ashraful has been in and out of the side more often than the number of verbal gaffes made by former US President George Bush Jr. But Bangladesh selectors have persisted with him because he is a potential match-winner.

New coach Richard Pybus has pushed him up the order to open the batting and it has so far brought about a tad more consistency in his batting.

Captain’s knock

But the three who are expected to carry the batting are captain Musfiqur Rahim, Al Hasan and the highly talented Tamim Iqbal.

Iqbal has the most runs for Bangladesh in this format, with 419 in 21 matches at a strike rate of 100. 23. Al Hasan is rated among the best all-rounders in the world in the shorter forms of the game and a good tournament from him could be the impetus to take Bangladesh into at least the last eight. Rahim’s pugnacious attitude and never-say-die style of leadership could be pivotal toward any success they achieve in the competition.

The talented 20-year-old Nasir Hossain is another in the all-round mould to look out for during the tournament. For all their inconsistency, Bangladesh can be a dangerous side.

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