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Bangladesh - World Cup Ladder
11 Apr 2006
By: George Roberts

Team Bangladesh
World Cup Claim to Fame
One sole giant-killing, when Pakistan were ousted in 1999, though the result was later blighted by accusations of match-fixing towards Pakistan.
Two-line Profile
1. Rapidly improving and a match for anyone on their day.
2. More often than not, the batting collapses amid a flurry of poor shots.

1) Mohammad Rafique
In his current role as possibly the best left-arm spinner in Asian cricket, veteran Rafique looks likely to be the first name on Dav Whatmore's team sheet come the Tigers' opening encounter with India on March 17 next year. A sublime ODI economy rate of 4.66 glistens when compared with the statistics of his figures, and his powerful hitting from the lower-order adds vital momentum to an often wobbly innings. This could also be Rafique's last chance to embed himself in cricketing history: he will be aged 36 at the dawn of the tournament and a final hurrah would be a fitting end to a career that has saw sweeping changes for his country's cricketing status.

2) Mashrafe Mortaza
The spearhead of an otherwise blunt seam attack, Mashrafe, if not propped up on the physio's table, should provide a much-needed cutting edge on the pacy West Indian wickets. Capable of either sticking to a disciplined line-and-length or of an aggressive, short-pitched approach, a fit Mashrafe will be obligatory should Bangladesh be considering progression beyond the group stages.

3) Mohammad Ashraful
A compulsory inclusion if only for his reading of Muralitharan's doosra, a useful skill when the Tigers encounter the spin wizard on March 21, Ashraful has gone from teenage wonderkid to the heartbeat of an improving side in little under a year. One of the few Bangladeshis possessing the ability to smite sixes at will, the diminutive batsman will be the lynchpin of the middle-order, and may well be licking his chops at a chance to tear into the inexperienced Bermudans.

4) Habibul Bashar
The mainstay of the Bangladeshi middle order throughout their rocky introduction to top-level cricket, Habibul has recently been leapfrogged by Ashraful as the Tigers' premier batsman, but still remains a valuable source of experience and captain. While his compulsive hooking has frequently ended in premature dismissal, the bouncy West Indian wickets may suit his legside-orientated style of play. However he averages less than 20 in ODIs, at a strike-rate of little over 50, in stark contrast to his (relatively) high Test average of 34, and a poor World Cup campaign, both personally and collectively, could see his downfall as captain.

5) Aftab Ahmed
A highly talented middle order batsman, and useful medium-pacer, Aftab should slot into the eventual lineup, either at number three, where he has been experimented in recent matches, or too add late acceleration from lower down the order. His aggression and strike-rate are only matched by Bangladesh by Ashraful although he has often been criticised for his impetuosity at the crease. His gentle swingers could provide a useful fifth or sixth bowling option, particularly if two or three spinners are selected.

6) Javed Omar
A classic anchorman at the top of the scorecard, Javed Omar provides the stability in a volatile batting side. While Ashraful and Aftab prefer to belt boundaries, Javed accumulates rather than devastates. At times his approach can be misinterpreted as ultra-defensive, but a cool temperament is a skill lacking in many of his contemporaries.

7) Khaled Mashud
Mashud is a gritty wicket-keeper of yesteryear: his dogged batting has frustrated many a high-class bowling attack, and he is as reliable behind the stumps as most other international keepers. The World Cup does not, however, bring happy recollections for Mashud, with the loss to Canada under his captaincy at the forefront of his memory. Although his place in the final squad is all but assured, should the impressive Mushfiqur Rahim continue to progress, Mashud may be forced out to accommodate another batsman or bowler.

8) Shahriar Nafees
Providing valuable variation in a right-hand dominated top-order, southpaw Nafees has settled seamlessly into the Tiger's side after debuting in the 2005 NatWest Series. A temperament similar to Javed Omar earmarks him automatically as an opener, but an overt weakness against the new-ball may see him bat anywhere inside the top six.

9) Manjural Islam Rana
In a country with few top-quality cricketers, only the unlucky live in the shadows of one: Manjural Islam Rana, like several other Bangladeshi left-arm spinners offers much but is forever recalled and rechopped as the selectors shuffle the pack. His batting does give him an advantage over Abdur Razzak and an ODI economy rate of 4.13 is not to be scorned at. Likely to play if there is even a hint of turn in the wicket.

10) Syed Rasel
In stark contrast to the aggression and energy of Mashrafe and Shahadat, Syed is a classically English left-arm seamer, wobbling the ball around the right-hander's off-stump. As a result he is likely to be included in the squad purely as an economical bowler, but if overcast conditions prevail over Carribean azure, could become dangerous as Mashrafe's partner with the new-ball.

11) Rajin Saleh
Possibly only outdone by Ashraful in the 'most talented batsman' stakes, Rajin has largely failed as yet to transfer to his prolific domestic form into international runs. A versatile and technically correct batsman, capable of either opening or batting at three, a position that has recently proved a problem for the Tigers since Habibul dropped lower down the order. His occasional off-spin bowling now appears to be consigned to the past.

12) Alok Kapali
In and out of the ODI side in recent times, Alok burst onto the scene in 2002 when his intended selection as a leg-spinner coincided with a blossoming of his batting talents. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, he had never really repeated this early form. Undoubtedly talented, and a useful squad player on turning pitches, Alok could be used as a third spinner and number seven, although this would severely reduce the amount of batting resources available to the Tigers.

13) Shahadat Hossain
A raw, wild fast bowler capable of generating real pace from often dead-as-a-dodo Asian wickets, Shahadat could form a potent edge to the attack in the Carribean. Boasting a devastating bouncer, he came of age in the home series against Sri Lanka in 2006 when he rattled several of the tourists' batsmen, but may have to curb some of his aggression to cut down his economy rate.

14) Nafees Iqbal
The nephew of former Tigers' captain Akram Khan, Nafees is a daring, free-scoring batsman, with the advantage of a youthful career in its infancy. After smashing a hundred in a warm-up match against England in 2003, his confidence was obvious, dismissing the tourist's spinners as 'ordinary'. However his ego is often his undoing, often being dismissed as a result of a premeditated heave when well set, making him a sometimes unnecessary commodity in a volatile side.

15) Abdur Razzak
Another Bangladeshi slow-left armer, Razzak remains firmly behind Rafique but roughly level with Manjural in the spinners' pecking order. Generating bounce from his tall frame and action, Razzak is, in effect, a one-day specialist. Back in Bangladesh he averages just 18 in List A cricket, with an economy rate of under four an over. Concerns about the legality of his action remain, while his lack of real substance with the bat may lead to his exclusion.

16) Tapash Baisya
With limited backup for Mashrafe Mortaza, Tapash has often been the other seamer entrusted with the new ball. A workmanlike manner and recent form suggest a lower economy rate than 5.62. The biggest threat to his World Cup berth comes from long-standing injuries which have restricted availability and form in recent years, and he could well be leapfrogged by the likes of Syed Rasel and Shahadat Hossain.

17) Tushar Imran
Another unpolished diamond of a batsman, Tushar has fought hard with Rajin Saleh for the number three slot over the past few seasons, although neither has had any real success. He enjoyed a successful tour of England with the 'A' team back in the summer of 2005, but has failed miserably on most of his domestic outings this season, and his chances may be fading fast.

18) Mushfiqur Rahim
Already christened as a future Tigers' captain and mainstay of the middle-order, as well as a tidy wicket-keeper, Rahim is currently not involved in the ODI picture, but is a prime candidate should any batsman encounter rocky form. Had he more exposure and experience, an anchorman's role from number six would beckon, but the West Indies may have come two years too early for him. However if a replacement or backup keeper is required, the diminutive Rahim will be the obvious choice.

19) Enamul Haque jnr
Primarily a Test spinner at the moment, Enamul may find both his relative inexperience and lack of batting talent a barrier between himself and a World Cup place. Now a fixture in the side for the longer form of the game, he will rely on the loss of form or injury to others to seal a berth, but is likely to be the pivotal bowler in 2011, when Rafique will have departed the international scene.

20) Nazmul Hossain
Dubbed 'Nazgul' by a Norwegian member of our forums, Nazmul Hossain has flirted with a consistent one-day spot, but rather like his nickname, tends to disappear without warning, and then re-emerge for another stint on the other side of the world. Still under the tender age of 19, Nazmul is a medium-pace bowler with the ability to deviate the ball off the seam bowling from wide of the crease. Could go as seam backup should Tapash or Mashrafe break down again.

21) Al Sahariar
The forgotten man of Bangladeshi cricket, Al Sahariar certainly possesses enough talent to secure a World Cup place, but repeated lapses in concentration over the past have pushed him out of the spotlight. After some weak (but not relatively shocking) performances at the last World Cup, he was dropped and the selectors have not even hinted at a recall, omitting him from recent 'A' squads, despite consistent domestic form. Now reinvented as a number three, could Al Sahariar plug the gaping hole beneath the two settled openers?

22) Ehsanul Haque
The unlucky batsman who edged to slip to give Chaminda Vaas his opening over hat-trick in 2003, Ehsanul has been overlooked ever since by the selectors, who now have their eye set on the promising crop of youth players. However Ehsanul has hammered on the door incessantly this year, topping the run scoring charts in the National Cricket League, and a recall is not out of the question should he continue to bully domestic attacks.

23) Mushfiqur Rahman
Once Bangladesh's hopes of a vital all-rounder, Mushfiqur has drifted slowly out of national contention in recent years as the BCB pursued a solid team with few 'bits-and-pieces' players. But some outstanding all-round domestic performance have catapulted Mushfiqur back under the selectors eye, with a place in the 'A' squad for the Sri Lanka series a reward for his excellent form. A possible contender as backup in the seam bowling department, especially if more substantial batting is required.

24) Mohammad Sharif
Anyone who is deemed good enough at to make his Test debut at 15 must be worth a second look, and skiddy seamer Sharif has wandered the domestic circuit for the past four years in search of a national recall. None so far has been forthcoming, but very strong performances in domestic cricket push his case forward to the selectors.

25) Faisal Hossain
Another who was quickly discarded at international level, left-handed Faisal Hossain has, like his club mate Ehsanul, destroyed domestic attacks in the past year, without even a blink of an eye from the national selectors. Curiously named 'Decans' (translated as 'Dickens'), Faisal is a real dark horse for the squad, but may force his way in through pure weight of runs.

26) Saqibul Hasan
Saqibul Hasan in part of the new generation of Tigers' cricketers who look set to take Bangladesh to international glory in the next two decades. An explosive number three and fine left-arm spinner (although Bangladesh are more than covered in this discipline), he is only 18 and is probably too inexperienced to be included for the West Indies, but could be a valuable squad player and big hitter late in the innings. A name to keep a lookout for.

27) Mehrab Hossain jnr
An altogether more gifted player than his namesake, Mehrab Hossain Opee, Mehrab junior is a middle order left-handed batsman, and (yawn) a slow-left arm bowler. Despite still being eligible for the Under 19s, he has a very healthy List A average of 41 with the bat, and is more than useful with the ball. Could leapfog Saqibul in the 'best junior left-arm spin bowling all-rounder' stakes, but unlikely to feature in the Caribbean.

28) Tamim Iqbal
Could two brothers play for Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup? Stylish and aggressive opening batsman Tamim is the younger brother of the equally pugnacious Nafees, and played a key role in the recent success of the Under 19 side, before pounding domestic attacks in the National Cricket League.

29) Hasibul Hossain
Although discarded from the national setup in the early years of Test cricket in Bangladesh, paceman Hasibul has bounced back in recent years, turning in some excellent performances for his division, Sylhet, in domestic cricket. However he is often regarded as another run-of-the-mill Bangladeshi seamers, and is probably not in contention for a World Cup berth.

30) Nazmus Sadat
While Bangladesh Under 19s waged their World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka earlier this year, one unselected opener found green pastures on the domestic front. Nazmus has turned from age-group reject to local bully-boy, and the selectors have certainly noticed his potential by calling him up for the 'A' series against Sri Lanka.

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