Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Surjo Tarun in Super League

Star-studded Surjo Tarun Club confirmed their berth in the Super League of the Dhaka Premier Cricket League with a crucial two-wicket win over Victoria Sporting Club at the BKSP on Tuesday.
They joined Mohammedan, Abahani, Bangladesh Biman and BKSP in the elite group while Old DOHS, City Club and Victoria are vying for the last remaining slots with a game in hand.
On Tuesday, BKSP defeated DOHS by eight wickets while City Club lost to Young Pegasus by five wickets. Partex lost to Kalabagan by one-wicket in another match despite Rofiqul Islam scoring a century.
Surjo Tarun v Victoria
Farhad Hossain scored 92 off 139 balls to guide Victoria to 213 before they were all out in 49.5 overs, but it was not enough as Surjo Tarun rode on Naeem Islam�s unbeaten 86 to reach the target with five balls to play. It was their sixth win in 10 matches, which means they are well assured of Super League status.
High-flying BKSP restricted DOHS to a paltry total of 127 before romping past the total in 23.2 overs with Ashraful Aziz remaining unbeaten on 66. Mushfiqur Rahim, who rediscovered his batting form, was unbeaten on 33. The Premier League newcomers have now 15 points from 10 matches, which also kept them well-placed in the title race.
City Club v Young Pegasus
City Club had a very good chance to boost their Super League hopes, but they squandered it by losing to bottom side Pegasus by five wickets. Nazmul Islam took four wickets for Pegasus to restrict City to 215 before an unbeaten 51 by Habibur Rahman guided them only to their second league game. Twenty20 runners-up City with nine points must now win their final game and hope the others to collapse should they want to play the Super League.
Partex v Kalabagan
Rofiqul scored 105 while last match centurion Rashed Hanif contributed 63 to help Partex to reach 256-8, but still they ended up as losers. After the intervention of rain, Kalabagan got a revised target of 188 runs in 30 overs. Pakistani Shahbaz Butt (69) and Nazmus Sadat shared a 82-run opening stand to set the tone for Kalabagan, who reached 189-9 in 29.3 overs.

Abahani beat Mohammedan

Abahani survived a late scare to manage a two-wicket victory against archrivals Mohammedan in a low-scoring match at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday to bounce back in the Premier Cricket League title race.

In an otherwise dull affair between the two traditional rivals, nervous moments suddenly crept in the dying stage when Abahani lost four wickets in the space of 34 runs after a crucial 60-run fifth wicket stand between Shahriar Nafees and Nadif Chowdhury took the side to 125-4.

Nafees struck a well-composed 57 with four boundaries in 111 balls and man-of-the-match Nadif chipped in with 41 off 88 deliveries as defending champions Abahani posted 164 for eight in 46.4 overs in reply to Mohammedan's 162 all out to open the door for second-placed Biman to finish the first-leg atop.

Biman are on 17 points with a match in hand while Mohammedan and Abahani have 18 and 17 points respectively after completion of all their 11 matches.

Only a few supporters turned up to watch the game under scorching heat and it was a painful experience for everybody to see poor cricket all around despite the fact that as many as seven current national cricketers were part of it including captain Mohammad Ashraful.

Ashraful's men were lucky enough that days of repercussion after bad performances are gone in this time.

Everybody was surprised how it was possible for a team (Mohammedan) to score 162 when they have four top-order batsmen of the national team in their ranks. There was, however, no need to think more about the reasons behind when their prized batsman Ashraful played an unnecessary slog-sweep against left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny to be bowled in a crucial situation.

The most disappointed man after the match was none other than Mohammedan coach Minhajul Abedin, one of the finest batsmen the country has ever produced, who is also highly praised for his true professional attitude during a prolific career.

"The reality is that they (national players) have hardly any commitment. You have to be hungry for runs and you have to play for yourself first. A national player should show his class in domestic circuit but unfortunately, none could do it. It's funny that out of four, not a single batsman scored a fifty," said Minhajul.

"And it seems that they have appeared at the ground for the roll-call. If one national player can't make more than five fifties in ten matches, then how we would differentiate him from an average cricketer?" questioned the frustrated former national skipper.

Another ex-Bangladesh captain turned coach Aminul Islam, in charge of defending champions Abahani for the second year, was not so harsh but he was also critical of the approaches of the national stars.

"It was really frustrating the way our national players played in this match and I have doubt about their seriousness," said Aminul.

He praised Nafees for a brilliant innings that turned the match in their favour but was not fully satisfied about the left-hander's efforts.

"I must say Nafees played sensibly to win the match for us but the question is why he and Nadif failed to finish the job. It could have been a different story after they threw away their wickets in the last moment," he added.

According to Mahbubul Anam, former cricket board general secretary and an influential Mohammedan official, 'lack of knowledge' is the reason behind the gloomy feature.

"Whatever it is, commitment or any other thing, all comes from the head," said the bearded organiser after the match.

Ashraful as usually was not ready to accept the blame about lack of commitment. "I think we lacked patience and I am the best example of that," he said in defence of his colleagues.

MOHAMMEDAN: 162 all out in 49.5 overs (Imtiaz 6, Zunaed 5, Anwar 6, Aftab 10, Ashraful 20, Rokibul 14, Aqeel 10, Shuvo 27, Razzak 21, Dollar 25, Tapash 8*, extras 10, Zia 1-29, Talha 1-26, Rafique 1-34, Rezaul 1-22, Sunny 3-29).
ABAHANI: 164 for eight in 46.4 overs (Sahagir 5, Mahbubul 24, Nafees 57, Nazimuddin 1, Tushar 2, Nadif 41, Rezaul 5, Rafique 11, Sunny 7*, Zia 5*, extras 6, Razzak 3-30, Tapash 2-21, Aqeel 1-27, Shuvo 1-32).
Result: Abahani win by two wickets.

Bangladesh U-15s face Dutch in opener

Bangladesh take on Holland in their opening knockout match of the Clico International Under-15 Cricket World Championships in Barbados on April 19.

The young Tigers, currently touring West Bengal, would face hosts West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on April 26 in their first match of the tournament proper.

Apart from the hosts, Kenya and Ireland are the other teams in Bangladesh's group.

Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Holland and the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas team comprising players from Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands and The Bahamas in Group 2.

Test-playing countries England, New Zealand and Australia will be missing from the tournament.

"England have told us that the period of the tournament clashes with their school exams, while Australia and New Zealand have both indicated to us that they don't play competitively at the under-15 level," said All Sports Director Bruce Aanensen during a press conference at the Queen's Park Oval.

The final of the tournament will be played at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on May

Monday, 31 March 2008

BCB makes peace offering to Heera

Former national captain Shafiqul Haque Heera has been reunited with the Bangladesh Cricket Board in the capacity of national team manager, ending a year-long bitter relationship.
The BCB on Monday appointed him the manager operations of the national cricket team for one year effective from the upcoming tour of Pakistan, where Bangladesh will play five one-day matches and a Twenty20 international from April 8 to 20.
The former wicketkeeper was shown the door by the BCB last April after serving seven years as the deputy director of development and the venue director of the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. He was one of the representatives of the BCB at the host submission meetings of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
He was widely tipped for a return to the BCB as permanent manager of the national team prior to the home series against South Africa, but some officials blocked it mysteriously, souring his relationship with the cricket oversight body further.
Heera was interviewed for one post of permanent manager on January 13, but the BCB cancelled it on the pretext of having insufficient number of candidates. Only two candidates appeared for the post paving the way for the BCB to take the decision.
They instead appointed former national cricketer Omar Khaled Rumi as the manager for the South Africa and Ireland series. The former leg-spinner left the BCB red-faced by making an incoherent speech during the official dinner of the South Africa series that also made his future uncertain.
Heera was called back into the BCB on Monday for a renegotiation and after an hour-long meeting with Gazi Ashraf Hossain, the chairman cricket operations committee, his appointment was announced.
His one-year term also includes a tri-nation in Dhaka and the Asia Cup in June, Australia tour in September, home series against New Zealand in October, South Africa tour in November and the home series against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and West Indies up to April next year.
Its a new challenge for me. I will try to support the young team as well as the team management to the best of my ability, said Heera, who captained Bangladesh in the 1979 and 1982 ICC Trophy.
As the team operations manager my focus will be on overseeing that the practice sessions are well-organised and the players feel comfortable while traveling at home and away,said Heera.
This will be his sixth stint as the national manager as he held the post in different tournaments, home and away series since 1988. The last time he served as the national team manager was during the Zimbabwe and Kenya tour in 2006.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Now it's a team rule!

Ireland cricket team stayed away from any practice yesterday despite going into the second game of the three-match series on the back of a huge eight-wicket defeat at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today.

The visitors already expressed their concern over the immense heat after their first match defeat at the same venue and as a result, avoided training in the morning to regain some energy.

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful also admitted that the sultry weather was a big issue behind Ireland's meek surrender in the opening match and they have to brave the heat first if they want to be competitive in the remaining games.

"I must say that they were very disciplined in all departments in the first match but the weather was terrible for them. But on their day they can be dangerous so there is no scope to be complacent only after one comfortable victory," observed Ashraful.

The Tigers presence in the practice at the Mirpur indoors yesterday also reflected the feeling of their skipper. Coach Jamie Siddons conducted a short training with his batsmen only even though his top-order showed some character in the first game.

Was this seriousness for next month's tour to Pakistan? "No. Our main focus is to win the series first. We are not thinking of Pakistan right now but the win against Ireland will definitely help us get back some confidence before another tough tour," responded Ashraful.

Bangladesh came up with a new term in their book, which is 'team rule'. And what they believe was that they failed to apply it during the last series against formidable South Africa but made use of it in the first game against Ireland on Tuesday.

"As per the team rule, only the first three batsmen can play shots freely, in other words, they can play over the top. But for the remaining batsmen, it is considered a crime, as they have to avoid any kind of risk.

"I followed it in the first game against Ireland and got the result. I believe we would be competitive against the top-ranked sides if we maintained this rule," Ashraful explained.

And that was the reason left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal and number three Aftab Ahmed were not blamed for their rushed shots in the first game.

"You can say we gave Tamim free license to play his natural game because of the rule," he said.

Chief selector Rafiqul Alam was also excited by the new method and he believed they will get some results if the players followed it religiously.

"The method (team's rule) was desperately needed against South Africa but it didn't happen. I am happy they at least followed it in the first game against Ireland. As much as we follow the rules, we will be more successful in the international cricket," said the former national player.

"I will be really happy if they maintain it in the remaining two games against Ireland," he added.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

First ODI Win For Siddons

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons expressed satisfaction not just because the players gave him the first taste of victory in charge, but in the manner they defeated Ireland by eight wickets in the first one-day match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
To me it is more important how we win. In the past I think we had been an entertaining side and it was more about entertaining the crowd than winning matches. I am sure if we win the match that will also entertain the crowd, Siddons said.
It was much more pleasing for me how we went about it. Winning and competing in the game is really important to me. If we won that game and not stuck to the team rules I would have been really upset, added the Australian.
I am trying to say for a week that South Africa is number one and we are the number nine. The difference is that we are now playing against number 10 side. So, everybody expected us to beat them on our home ground and I am happy that we did it.
The 43-year-old Australian however reminded that the job was not finished and there were still two matches to go in the series. On their day they can be a very dangerous side, so next time they will come as a better outfit and we should raise our game also, he said.
Siddons was particularly happy to see his captain and vice-captain performing in the same game, which could inspire the other players as well.
I think Ashraful had been working really very hard in the nets. Today he stuck to the team rules and the result and reward are out there. I think every time he does that he will have success, said Siddons.
Mashrafee bin Murtaza, who took 3-22 to win his seventh man-of-the-match award, the highest by any Bangladeshi cricketer (Mohammad Ashraful and Shahriar Nafees each won it six times), was equally praised by the coach.
We left him out for a few games, batted him at number 11 and tried to make him realise that he has to be a lot more disciplined, said Siddons.
Once again he was not bowling to the South African batsmen, he was bowling to the level of cricketers he is probably better than or as good as, Siddons added on the pace bowler.
Mashrafees 3-22 was his best 10-over bowling spell in terms of economy rate. His pervious best 10-over spell was against Kenya when he conceded 25 runs at Nairobi in 2006.
He bowled in the right areas, swung the ball. He opened the bowling, bowled in the middle of the innings and at the end of the innings, which he has not been able to do properly in the past. He is getting better, said Siddons.

Tigers Smash Irish Team

Opener Shahriar Nafees and skipper Mohammad Ashraful struck unbeaten half-centuries as Bangladesh crushed Ireland by eight wickets to end their 14-match losing streak in one-day cricket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
After restricting Ireland to a modest 185-7, Bangladesh raced to 186-2 to go one up in the three-match series and in the process avenge their 74-run defeat in the last World Cup.
It was Bangladeshs first win since they defeated the Proteas in the Super Eights of the World Cup. Since then, they played three more games in the World Cup, two against India and three each against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa and lost all of them.
Shahriar was just 10 runs short of his fifth one-day century when he smashed the winning boundary off off-spinner Alex Cusack through mid-wicket with more than 10 overs to spare.
Shahriar, who did not score a half-century in his last 12 one-day matches since he made an unbeaten 104 against
Bermuda in February 2007, clubbed 11 boundaries for his 121-ball 90.
He shared an unbeaten 130-run partnership with Mohammad Ashraful, the eighth highest for Bangladesh in 170 one-day matches,
for the third wicket in 30.3 overs after the hosts lost the wickets of Tamim Iqbal and Aftab Ahmed.
Ashraful looked more circumspect on his way to 64 not out off 90 balls as he took 13 balls to get off the mark. The under-performing skipper cracked eight boundaries but never went for any airy-fairy shots that often brought about his downfall.
Ashraful came to the crease after fit-again Aftab Ahmed miscued a slower delivery to leave the hosts reeling at 56-2.
The Tigers lost Tamim (13), who lofted a catch at gully to William Porterfield after a promising start. The opening partnership fetched Bangladesh 25 runs in 5.4 overs.
Having won the toss Ireland got off to a sluggish start after man-of-the-match Mashrafee bin Murtaza maintained a probing line and length.
There were only two scoring shots in his opening spell that read 6-4-8-2.
Then the spinners reduced the Irish to 116-6 in 35 overs before a 64-run partner-
ship between Cusack and Johnston gave them some respectability.
Mashrafee dismissed Cusack (38) in the final over to take his third wicket. He could have added another had Tamim not missed a catch offered by the next batsman Langford-Smith two balls later.

Ashraful answers with the bat

The timing could not have been better for Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful to return to form with a composed half-century against Ireland on Tuesday.
Ashraful was at the receiving end not just for his poor form and failure to lead the team from the front, but also for his off-the-field behaviour.
The Bangladesh captain did not just issue a public apology for his inexplicable behaviour he also invited his victim to the Bangladesh dressing room after practice on Monday to apologise in person.
Yet, that was not enough. Now the call was for him to respond with the bat and Ashraful readily obliged with an unbeaten 64 off 90 balls, guiding Bangladesh to an eight-wicket victory against the visitors.
It was just not an ordinary half-century for him against an associate member of the ICC, rather a symbol of application, patience and hunger for win. The middle-order batsman did not allow the Irish bowlers to create any kind of pressure on Bangladesh at any stage as he shared a match-winning 130-run stand with Shahriar Nafees.
Ashraful had every reason to feel hurt as some of the criticism directed at him went beyond the line and often he hardly got any respect he deserved for his past contributions from the critics.
His emotion was evident when he reluctantly raised his bat after reaching his fifty and also did not appear at the post-match press conference which was otherwise customary for captains.
I had no problem to face the press. Today I did not come initially because I was not told, Ashraful said later when he joined the press-conference with vice-captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza and coach Jamie Siddons belatedly.
Unlike a wining captain Ashraful looked gloomy and a pale shadow of his usual self. It was his first one-day victory as Bangladesh captain and also his first half-century at home in nearly two years (he last scored a fifty on home soil in February 2006 against Sri Lanka).
I did not feel any pressure on the field. Pressure was there definitely. But I never allowed it to suppress on me.
The bowlers did a good job for us. And then we had a good partnership with me and Shahriar. It released all the pressure, added Ashraful.
The plan was to stay at the crease. We knew that if could occupy the crease then the runs would come. There was nothing to be worried about, said Ashraful, who uncharacteristically took 13 balls to score his first run in the game.
I was just waiting for a loose ball. As long as I did not get it, I was not willing to offer any shot. Maybe it is the only reason for me to take time to get off the mark, he said.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Ashraful lashes out!

For better or worse, the fans have always stood by the national cricketers. But it seems even they have reached their breaking-point especially as the performance of the Tigers during the South Africa series hit new lows every time they took to the field.
Their frustration however boiled over on Sunday and caused beleaguered Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, who was on the receiving end during the Test and ODI whitewash against the Proteas, to finally snap and he lashed out at a fan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium after he was jeered.
Witnesses said, fans, who were watching the Premier Twenty20 Cricket final in the gallery, started booing when they saw Ashraful walking past them through a narrow gate inside the stadium on his way to the adjacent indoor complex for net practice.
The Bangladesh captain kept put his gears on the stairs before jumping into the gallery and grabbing the fan by the scruff of the neck and slapped the poor fellow before anyone realised anything had happened. The fan was later identified as Jalal, a garments worker in Mirpur.
Police and the officials of the Bangladesh Cricket Board quickly intervened and took Ashraful away from the agitated fans. But it did not calm the situation as they started chanting slogans and demanded an unconditional apology from Ashraful.
Police immediately nabbed Jalal but were forced to release him to pacify the mob, who continued to agitate. Police however kept Jalals identity card. A guardian of Jalal rushed to the stadium hearing the news and apologised to Ashraful on his behalf. Jalal also said sorry later and promised not to boo the cricketer in future.
Ashraful particularly came under the wrath of the fans after scoring just 17 runs in three-match one-day series against South Africa that ended on February 14. Ashraful declined to comment on the incident.
Last week, vice-captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza was also involved in an altercation with a fan who had been watching him from the other side of the fence when he was bowling in the nets.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Two Changes in Cricket squad For Ireland Series

The experiment with the Bangladesh cricket team seems to be continuing as the selectors made two changes in the national squad for the three-match one-day series against Ireland.
Surprisingly, two bowlers Syed Rasel and Mosharraf Hossain had to pay the price for the failures of the batsmen, who made a mess in the just-concluded three-match ODI series against South Africa.
Middle-order batsman Aftab Ahmed and all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad replaced them in the 14-member squad announced on Saturday at a city hotel.
Aftab is one of our main batsmen in the middle-order. We could not include him against South Africa because of injury. Now he has been declared fit, so we recalled him, said chief selector Rafiqul Alam.
Instead of any under-performing batsmen, the selectors jettisoned medium pacer Rasel to make room for Aftab.
He (Aftab) is also a useful medium pacer, which we think can prove handy for Ireland. So we thought he can easily take the place of Rasel, said the chief selector.
The team has a certain gameplan for which we think there is no need to play three pacers. We already have Mashrafee (bin Murtaza) and Shahadat (Hosasin), he said.
We axed Mosharraf because he could not impress against South Africa. Riyad (Mahmudullah) came in his place, Rafiqul said.
Unlike Mosharraf he is an off-spinner, which we think will give our attack some variation. We also felt the need of an off-spinner as Ireland have seven left-handed players. He is also a better batsman, he added.
The three-match series will start with the first game on March 18 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. The remaining two matches will also be held at the same venue on March 20 and 22.
Squad: Mohammad Ashraful, Mashrafee bin Murtaza, Tamim Iqbal, Junaed Siddique, Aftab Ahmed, Nazimuddin, Shahriar Nafees, Sakib al Hasan, Dhiman Ghosh, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad, Farhad Reza and Roqibul Hassan.

Ireland arrive in Dhaka

Less than twelve hours after South Africa cricket team left Dhaka after whitewashing Bangladesh in both Test and one-day series, Ireland arrived in the city on Saturday to play three one-day matches against the hosts.
The 15-member Ireland team, led by all-rounder Trent Johnston, will play the first match of the series against Bangladesh at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on March 18.
Ireland are ranked just behind Bangladesh in the one-day charts and also defeated the Tigers in last years World Cup, which gave an added value to the series that has been deemed trivial otherwise.
We have come here to play good cricket and we are confident that we can do it. It would be nice if we can cause another upset like the World Cup, skipper Johnston told reporters at the airport.
We know the pitches will be low and slow here. But we are prepared for it. We have a couple of good spinners who can exploit the slow nature of the wicket. They also showed form in the last few weeks, he added.
The Ireland squad has only eight players Trent Johnston, Kyle McCallan, Andre Botha, David Langford-Smith, Eoin Morgan, Kevin OBrien, Niall OBrien and William Porterfield who played against Bangladesh in the World Cup.
Of them, Porterfield, the vice-captain of the side, was the architect of Irelands 74-run win over Bangladesh having scored 85 off 136 balls.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board will earn at least Tk 34 lakh from the series. Of the money, title sponsor Ispahani Mirzapore Tea will provide Tk 18 lakh while the rest of the amount will be coming from the fields perimeter billboards.
It was revealed at a press conference on Saturday. BCB members Shafiqur Rahman and Ishtiaque Ahmad and Mirza Ali Behrouze Ispahani, the chairman of Ispahani Group, spoke, among others, at the press conference.
Squad: Trent Johnston (captain), William Porterfield (vice-captain), Kyle McCallan, Kevin Brien, Niall OBrien, Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, Reinhardt Strydom, Thinus Fourie, Gary Kidd, Greg Thompson, Eoin Morgan, Paul Stirling, David Langford-Smith and Phil Eaglestone.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Proteas take Control against Tigers

South Africa seized total control of the second Test after Bangladesh stumbled to 60-3 in the first innings replying to the visitors mammoth 583-7 declared at the end of the second days play at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium on Saturday.
Openers Tamim Iqbal (14) and Junaed Siddique (18) both returned to the dressing room and they were quickly followed by skipper Mohammad Ashraful, who went for a first-ball duck.
Dale Steyn took all three wickets to compound Bangladeshs woe and in the process became the quickest South African bowler to claim 100 wickets in Tests. Bangladeshs Mohammad Rafique also achieved the mark earlier with the ball playing in his final match.
At stumps, Shahriar Nafees was batting on seven while night-watchman Abdur Razzak successfully warded off more than three overs to remain unbeaten on eight. Razzak gave Bangladesh the biggest relief of the day, however, not with the bat but with the ball.
He gave Bangladesh the first breakthrough when Graeme Smith was clean bowled off his bowling shortly after the South African captain broke the world record of 413 in the opening stand, set by Indias Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy 52 years ago, partnering with Neil McKenzie.
The duo added only two runs before Razzak separated them on 415. Hasim Amla and McKenzie added 99 runs for the second wicket to take South Africa out of Bangladeshs reach.
Shahadat Hossain struck after the lunch break to claim three wickets in three overs that included McKenize, who transformed his overnight 169 into a maiden double century, Hasim Amla (38) and AB De Villiers (1). McKenzie scored 226 runs off 388 balls clobbering 28 fours and three sixes. Sakib got rid of Ashwell Prince (2).
However, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher were still there, though they were having a difficult time in the middle.
Kallis was dropped on 38 by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim off Mohammad Rafique, who was still struggling to get a wicket. However, Boucher gave him the wicket two balls later when he drove the spinner to Sakib al Hasan at cover.
Two overs later Robin Peterson gave catch off Rafique which Junaed Siddique held after a slight deflection off the pads of Mushfiq. With the wicket of Peterson, Rafique fulfilled his dream of 100 Test wickets and South Africa did not wait further to declare.
And they looked quite happy at the end of the day.
We have got what we wanted to be in. Mission accomplished and we are happy with the position we are now in, said South African coach Mickey Arthur.
In the morning we were looking about to score 600 with an hour to go. We knew it was going to be a little bit difficult to score today. The pitch was lot more defensive than it was yesterday, he added.
I am very satisfied, obviously our middle order missed out today. But they played quiet well in Dhaka. So all our batsmen have had a go, said Arthur.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Jason Gillespie announced his retirement

Former Australian fast-bowler Jason Gillespie announced his retirement from first-class cricket Friday.
The 32-year-old paceman announced his decision during South Australias Pura Cup match against Queensland.
Gillespie, Australias sixth-highest Test wicket taker, has turned his back on the
domestic game to concentrate on his family and the rebel Twenty20 Indian Cricket League, for which he has signed for three years.
He said it was a tough decision, but one he was comfortable with.
Im very excited it certainly is a change, but its something Im very much looking forward to, he said.
The opportunity came up and I had to weigh things up, I wasnt sure what I was going to dowhether I was going to play on another season with SA.
I was umming and aahing at that point.
The body is feeling good so well see how we go; obviously I cant do the things I could do six or seven years ago, but I still feel Im contributing.
Gillespie had a lot of problems with injuries early in his career, but recovered to become one of the countrys finest quick bowlers.
I am grateful to Cricket Australia for sticking by me early in my career when I was plagued by injuries, he said.
And I am grateful to the selectors who continued to have faith and select me to play in more than 175 first-class matches.
Gillespie took 259 wickets in 71 Tests at 26.13, with best figures of 9-80.
In his last Test, against Bangladesh, he made and unbeaten 201 as a night watchman.
He also played 97 one-day internationals, for 142 wickets at 25.42.

Great Batting Display by G.Smith & N.McKenzie

Bangladesh bowlers toiled all the day for no reward as South Africa compiled a massive 405-0 in a record filled opening day of the second Test at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium on Friday.
Opener Graeme Smith smacked a double century to remain unbeaten on 223 while Neil McKenzie ended his seven year wait for the third century making a career-best 169 not out.
The duo gave no chance to the luckless Bangladesh bowlers on a flat batting track that offered neither seam movement nor turn. Bangladesh had spent the day tmostly scavenging the ball out of the boundary rope.
They are now eyeing a world record opening partnership of 413 runs, set by Vinu Mankad and Pankaj Roy nearly 52 years ago against New Zealand in Chennai. Given the manner in which the wicket was behaving, the record is very much within their reach.
It was really a painful day for us. We tried almost everything, but did not get any success. There was nothing in the wicket. No movement, any turn and also there wasnt any luck with us, lamented Bangltadesh pacer Shahadat Hosssain, portraying the true picture of the days play.
South Africa won the toss and Smith did not hesitate for a second to go for batting. They went for lunch at 92-0 giving an early indication of what was coming next.
Records started to fall one after another in the last two sessions presenting Bangladesh one of their worst ever nightmares in a Test match. It was the third time they the spent a day without any wicket.
Last time they went wicket-less in a day was against India in May 2007 at Dhaka. The other happened incidentally came also versus South Africa in Chittagong in 2003 during their previous tour.
Boeta Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph had shared a 429-run partnership in that game at the MA Aziz Stadium. It is the highest-ever partnership for any wicket against Bangladesh, a record that is now also about to fall.
Smith and McKenzie have already eclipsed the best opening partnership record of 175 runs against Bangladesh, made by Indias Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Kartik in Dhaka last year.
Only four times now in the history of the game have the openers dominated a days play. Last time it happened about 19 years ago when Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor remained undivided to score 301 runs against England at Nottinghamshire in 1989.
We tried our very hard to separate the openers. If we could do it, I am sure we could have earned a few more wickets as success brings success.
But nothing went in our favour today, bemoaned Shahadat.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

SA to Attack Bangladesh in 2nd Test

After a rude awakening in the opening Test, South Africa will be looking for a more reassuring performance when they meet Bangladesh in the second and final match starting Friday.
Though the South Africans won the opener in Dhaka by a five-wicket margin and nearly two days to spare, they conceded a first innings lead to their under-rated rivals and largely looked out of sorts while batting.
To the credit of the hosts, they gave it their all but lacked the killer punch that could have upstaged their mighty opponents.
Paceman Shahadat Hossain impressed the most among the bowlers with a nine-wicket match haul while young opener Junaid Siddique also showed he had the temperament to succeed at the highest level.
The South African batting looked in disarray with only skipper Graeme Smith managing a half-century in either innings.
The way some of the South African batters lost their wicket smacked of over-confidence although they did make amends somewhat in reaching the 205-run target, their highest successful run chase in the sub-continent. Smith admitted the game had served as a wake-up call for his team which was still trying to come to terms with the conditions.
After three months of playing at home, in a different style, using a certain game plan, this was a big wake-up call, he said.
I am glad the normal Test team is here so we can realise again how tough it is to play here.
Our style of playing we were brought up on has turned from day to night here. You need a whole different technique as a batsman, as a bowler, in your thinking method and in these ways you get people out. It all changes.
We have to start working harder. If we can last in these conditions, we will be well prepared when we go to India, Smith added.
The Proteas will once again be distracted by the selection row that marred the build-up to this series with talks about a disciplinary hearing involving board president Norman Arendse being held over the weekend back home.
There was also speculation that some of the players, including Smith, would return home after the Test for a short break ahead of the three-Test series against India.
However media manager Michael Owen Smith told AFP a decision was yet to be taken on their departure.
For Bangladesh, the chief worry is the form of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and veteran batsman Habibul Bashar.
While Bashar, already axed from the one-day side, looks likely to make way for a youngster in the batting line up, Rahim may be persisted with because of the faith of coach Jamie Siddons in his abilities. The Test will be followed by three one-dayers.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Bangladesh Under-19 Showed Superb Performance

Captain Suharwardi Shuvo salvaged, inspired and ran ragged to help Bangladesh clinch a 13-run win over England yesterday in the ICC Under-19 World Cup at the Royal Selangor Club ground in Kuala Lumpur.

Shuvo first undertook a rescue operation to make sure his bowlers had a total to bowl at after the top and middle order stooped to 49-7 in the 14th over. His bat produced an unbeaten 56 off 100 balls to take the young Tigers to 149 in 42 overs. In the second essay of the game, Shuvo led by example again; athletic fielding and bowling a typically tight spell of left-arm spin as the young English batsmen had little to show for, being bowled out for 136 runs in 47.4 overs.

The win gives Bangladesh a match against South Africa in the first quarterfinal at the Bayuemas Oval tomorrow, while England's loss gave them the tougher opponent from Group B India.

But it could have been the exact opposite. On a moist wicket, in-form opener Ashraful Hossain fell for a second-ball duck to paceman James Harris. Nadimuddin Mintu, Rony Talukdar and Mahmudul Hasan Limon followed suit as Harris picked up five wickets including the wicket of Nasir Hossain (4). Bangladesh were tottering at 27-6 when Limon fell lbw to Harris.

And when wicketkeeper-batsman Ashiqul Islam fell for a 21-ball 16, the match was there for England's taking. The crowd of around a hundred Bangladeshis went quiet as their boys were in deep trouble.

But Shuvo, who stood at the other end, had a willing ally in Dollar Mahmud and the two first had to make sure of a decent score. That they did with the help of a lot of singles, rather than boundaries. Dollar, a tail-ender at best, scored a 77-ball 36 while the skipper was patient in his unbeaten 56. The two added 81 for the eighth wicket. Shuvo added a further 19 with Rubel Hossain as Bangladesh were closed at 149.

The crowd were in high spirits and it was learned that a momentum shift was evident, as the youngsters felt confident with a talented bowling line-up.

James Taylor cracked two boundaries in a 30-ball 24 but wicketkeeper Ashiqul cut short his stay with a brilliant diving effort in the eighth over. That was England's first wicket to fall in the tournament and as predicted, their untested middle-order crashed at the face of an inspiring bowling and fielding display.

Two run-outs -- Billy Godleman and Alex Wakely -- through Limon and Mithun Ali ensure Bangladesh fought back and then it was Shuvo's turn to put one final stamp on the match. He removed dangerous Tom Westley, who stuck for a patient 57-ball 21. Two more run-outs and some splendid bowling from pacemen Suvashish Roy and Rubel Hossain coupled with Nasir's two wickets and another superb spell from off-spinner Limon gave Bangladesh a brilliant come-from-behind victory.

Shuvo was presented with the man-of-the-match award quite predictably and there was double delight as BCB president Maj Gen Sina Ibn Jamali announced a US$2000 bonus for a most fantastic victory.

149 all out in 42 overs (Ashraful 0, Mithun 10, Nadimuddin 0, Nasir 4, Rony 0, Limon 0, Ashiqul 16, Shuvo 56*, Dollar 36, Rubel 6, Subhashish 0, Harris 5-29)
ENGLAND: 136 all out in 47.4 overs (Taylor 24, Westley 21, Redfern 26, Shubashash 1-17, Rubel 1-26, Shuvo 1-21, Nasir 2-20, Limon 2-16).
Result: Bangladesh won by 13 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Suharwardi Shuvo.

Bowlers Fighting For Bangladesh

The Bangladesh batsmen have only themselves to blame for yet another erratic display, but the bowlers raised unlikely hopes of taking a first innings lead after the end of first day in the Warid first Test against South Africa on Friday.
Having managed a meagre total of 192 runs, the bowlers reduced South Africa 76-4, giving coach Jamie Siddons and captain Mohammad Ashraful something to tell in the post-day press conference.
I think we gave away a pretty good opportunity to put South Africa in a spot of trouble. Batting first in our condition, our wicket, we should have done a lot better. I am disappointed but still we have some hope out there. We fought our way back and we are still in the match, said Siddons.
Everyone saw a massive improvement in our batsmen but then they played a shot for no reason like Ashraful and Aftab did.
Aftab and Ashraful top scored for Bangladesh in the first innings with 44 and 34 respectively but both of them had their share of blame for spoiling a good start with careless shots.
Aftab put together 70 runs for the sixth wicket with Sakib al Hasan to help the Tigers go past 150 in their first innings for the first time in seven Tests after South African seamers left the hosts tottering at 82-5 before lunch.
He lofted a catch to Makhaya Ntini at mid-off off Johan Botha when the batsman looked set for a big score. The same bowler had earlier scalped Ashraful with only in his fifth ball of the match.
After hitting the spinner for two consecutive fours, Ashraful went for another big shot only to give a low return catch that ended stroke-filled innings of 34 that came off only 27 balls.
Quite a few of us like me Aftab, Shahriar, Sakib got a start in the innings but we could not carry on. If anyone of us could have made at least 70, we could have easily gone past 250, lamented Ashraful.
However, we still have a chance because our bowlers did so well. If we can restrict them to a minimal score tomorrow (Saturday), we could still have some competition.
South Africa set out to score 300 runs in the first innings but they lost Graeme Smith (10), Neil McKenzie (5), Hashim Amla (25) and Jacques Kallis (17) in less than two hours.
I am really happy at the way we bowled. You know, we have talked a lot after the warm-up game, about the game plan, about the reverse swing, about bowling to left-handers, said coach Mickey Arthur.
I am slightly disappointed with the batting at the moment, but we still have six wickets in hand and obviously we can squeeze our way to 300, said Arthur.
Wickets in the subcontinent are not like the ones we are used to have in South Africa. So, we know, whatever we do, we have to it in the first innings. It may not be very easy to bat here in the fourth innings, added Arthur.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

South Africa Ready to Face Bangla Tigers

The Mirpur pitch takes many forms' is the statement that came from none other than ace Bangladesh left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique.

There has been a debate on whether there is any point to talk too much about the pitch conditions when the batting of the Tigers is the main concern, but many still believe that the character of the surface can delude the South Africans.

Many even believe that it would be an interesting Test if the Bangladesh batsmen could manage to put some runs on the board.

But Rafique, who will bid bye to international cricket after the series, believes that the unpredictable nature of Mirpur pitch can boomerang against the home batsmen despite the fact that they have played a number of practice matches here.

"You can't say when it will start to produce bounce or start keeping low," said the experienced spinner, who along with his two fellow left-arm spinners is set to play a vital role in the Test.

South African skipper Graeme Smith was so curious about the pitch at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium that he even pulled off the covers during the practice session yesterday. He however was very much aware of the character of pitches on the subcontinent and remained optimistic about continuing their recent success.

"I think that few of the bowlers have put me under pressure already. From what we know, the wickets here don't really look good. We will have a lot of hard work to do in five days," the left-hander admitted at a press conference at the stadium yesterday.

"We have had a good chat this morning. We have learnt quite a lot from the warm-up game [at Fatullah]. Obviously we have got good confidence having won in Pakistan and It's also not so long ago," he added.

Despite Bangladesh's poor performance in the longer-version game, the well-built South African skipper said that it would be a challenge for them to take on the Tigers in their own den.

"But again, it's going to be a unique challenge here. And I think respecting the Bangladesh team is key. We have got to give them what they deserve. I think the subcontinent poses a great challenge because you really have to earn every win here," he said.

Smith was also a little bothered with his team's performance in the three-day match, but he hardly had any doubt about his team's success like he did in 2003 in his first tour as a captain.

"We used that match (practice) to get as much knowledge about the conditions as we could. We are just gathering as much information as possible. You know Bangladesh is not a team that we play often. We don't know many of the players as well, so for us it is about gaining as much information as possible," he observed.

He also spoke about his captaincy.

"I never dreamt of becoming South Africa's leading Test captain. Certainly it is a great honour and a wonderful achievement, I am proud of it," said the left-hander who took over the reins in 2003 at the age of 22 to become South Africa's youngest-ever captain following a disastrous World Cup campaign under Shaun Pollock

BCB Confident about India tri-series

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is optimistic about holding the triangular series involving India in this year.

There was uncertainty over the series in May this year as per the Future Tour Programme (FTP) of the ICC due to a clash with the IPL but Gazi Ashraf Hossain Lipu, chairman of the BCB's cricket operations committee, expressed his optimism yesterday.

"Hopefully we will get positive news regarding India's tour to Bangladesh within a short time. What I can say is that there is a good chance to hold the series before the next Asia Cup," said Lipu.

The issue has taken a positive turn after Lipu's meeting with BCCI officials during the ICC meeting in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The tour is very important for Bangladesh in terms of financial aspects as BCB's TV rights deal with Nimbus is made fully based on it.

Former national skipper Lipu also informed that his Cricket Australia counterparts agreed to hold this year's postponed two-Test series in July-August 2010 in northern Australia.

The series was originally scheduled to be played in August this year but was postponed due a clash with the Beijing Olympic Games. Cricket Australia has only agreed to host the Tigers for three one-dayers this year.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Ashraful is confident

A 400-plus total in the three-day warm-up match gave Bangladesh some hope before they go into the Warid first Test against South Africa starting at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Friday.

Its really a very encouraging sign. Seven players of our Test squad have played in the practice game and they all know now that these South Africans dont intimidate them, Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful told New Age.
Batting had been a major concern for us in the last few months. So, a good performance in the three-dayer was very crucial for us. We have restored our confidence with the innings of Junaed (Siddique), Sakib (al Hasan) and Aftab (Ahmed), added Ashraful.
Junaed scored a scintillating 103 before Sakib and Aftab hammered 73 and 45 respectively to help the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI pile up 412-8 in response to South Africas 397 in the drawn game.
Given the fact that Bangladeshs highest first innings total is just 143 in the last five Tests since Ashraful took over from the Habibul Bashar in June 2007, the warm-up came as a huge blessing.
Maybe it was a practice match and the South Africans were also not that serious, but from our point of view it was very important, said Ashraful.
South African captain Graeme Smith played down the impact of the match and said he will go with a different strategy in the Test match. Smith also hoped to a have different wicket at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Bangladesh skipped practice on Wednesday while for the South Africans it was optional, so only five players turned up. Meanwhile, Robin Pieterson and Neil McKenzie arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday and went straight to the stadium. The other three players were Dale Steyn, Andre Nel and JP Duminy.
McKenzie is set to replace Duminy in the first Test as a spinner while Pieterson is unlikely to play, South African team sources said. In the first Test their only spinning option could be Johan Botha.
It will be only the second Test for Botha, who was reported by umpires Aleem Dar and Billy Bowden for having a suspected action in his debut against Australia. He was banned for a year before undergoing a series of biomechanical tests to have got his action cleared.
But Botha might be still wary as Dar will be standing this time as well with Steve Bucknor, who is making his Test return. Each days play in the Test series will start at 10:00am and will be televised by Neo Sports.

Bangladesh U-19 Reach Quarter-Final

Bangladesh moved into the quarter-final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup with a thumping eight-wicket victory over Ireland in their second group match at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Opener Ashraful Hossain smashed an unbeaten 71 off 79 balls, his second half-century in the competition to guide the Junior Tigers to 126-2 in 22.3 overs after the bowlers had restricted the Irish to 123 in 43.4 overs.
Ashraful cracked 14 boundaries in his swashbuckling innings and on the way shared in a 63-run for the opening partnership with Mithun Ali, who scored 31 before being caught behind. Nadimuddin was the other batsman to have been dismissed after scoring 14.
Earlier off-spinner Mahmudul Hasan claimed 4-17 in just 6.4 overs to baffle the Irish who were asked to bat by Bangladesh captain Sohrawardi Shuvo.
Unorthodox right-arm pacer Rubel Hossain took two for 32 while Dollar Mahmud, Subasish Roy and Nasir Hossain shared a wicket each.
Bangladesh will face England on Friday, a match which will decide the group championship. Both sides will be desperate to win the game to avoid favourites India in the quarter-finals.
India are set to win the Group B and are poised to take the Group D runners-up in the quarter-final on February 24. If Bangladesh can beat England in the last group match, they will face either West Indies or South Africa instead, both of whom they recently defeated.
AFP adds: Hosts Malaysia surprisingly beat Zimbabwe by 70 runs to raise a rare cheer for the minnows on Wednesday.
On a day when unfancied Papua New Guinea, Namibia and Ireland fell by the wayside, Malaysia put up a spirited display to give themselves an outside chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.
Shahid Aslan shone for the hosts with an unbeaten 40 and three wickets as Malaysia, restricted to 194-8, bowled out Zimbabwe for 124 in a Group A match in Johor.
Malaysian captain Ahmad Faiz top-scored with 50, while team-mates Aminuddin Ramly and Nik Azril claimed two wickets each to stun the African side.
Malaysia must, however, beat New Zealand in their last league match today to join defending champions Pakistan in the quarter-finals.
In other matches, the outsiders were given a cricketing lesson by Test nations Sri Lanka and the West Indies powered to easy wins.
The West Indies rattled up 319 against Papua New Guinea, the highest total in this edition so far, with Steven Jacobs smashing 101 off 86 balls with the help of 11 boundaries and two sixes.
Darren Bravo, younger brother of West Indian star Dwayne, hit 59 while Keiran Powell, who has played Twenty20 cricket at the senior level, plundered 60 off 35 balls at the top of the order.
Papua New Guinea, who qualified as the East-Asia Pacific champions, managed only 143 in reply to lose by 176 runs and suffer their second consecutive defeat in Group B.
The West Indies, who previously lost to South Africa, need a win over India on Friday to force a three-way tie from the group.
Sri Lanka meanwhile recorded emphatic wins to qualify for the knock-out rounds from their respective groups.
Sri Lanka brushed aside Namibia by 163 runs in a Group C match in Penang for their second successive win.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Roshen Silva cracked half-centuries as Sri Lanka piled up 247-7 and restricted Namibia to 84 with Sachith Pathirana claiming four wickets and seamer Denuwan Fernando three.
The Sri Lankans face
fellow qualifiers Australia on Friday to determine the group leaders.