Bangla Tigers' new found aggression has rung alarm bells for Asian Giants
Bangladesh will no more feel as the goliath of Asian cricket, as their stupendous rise in ODI format has upped their level by several notches. Bangladesh have so far had a dream season this year in the 50-over format, and their collective unit led by the valiant Mashrafe Mortaza is going heights that nobody would have imagined.
A new sense of pride and honour can be seen among the players when they are out in the field and their unit is looking fresh and hungry to perform against the big teams. The latest ODI series victory against South Africa showed Bangladesh's ability to come back from tough situations which had been missing from their leaf since their entry into the cricketing world.
Bangladesh have shown they are a force to be reckoned with at their home soil and with the brand of cricket they are playing, performances overseas too look promising. Their run at the 2015 ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand showed that the young crop of players are ready to give everything and have embraced a new philosophy of playing aggressive cricket.
Asian cricket over decades have been dominated by three powerhouses India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. With Bangladesh's surge into the mix, the continent has found another mega team in the cricket circuit.
We look at some of the factors that has contributed to the rise of Tigers who are roaring their way to glory.
Kings at home: Bangladesh won their third successive ODI series at home and their kill of the bigger fishes on the trot showed it wasn't a one-series wonder. Bangladesh have used the conditions at home to perfection and the players have contributed from all fronts to garner victories. Their domination in all three ODI series against Pakistan, India and South Africa respectively, present a team that is at par with the big boys of cricket.
In the last nine ODI matches at home, starting with the series against Pakistan, Bangladesh have won seven and lost just two games. They have won four bilateral ODI series on the run after defeating Zimbabwe too in November last year.
It marked a first ODI series victory against Pakistan, India and South Africa to highlight their domination at home which has been pleasing to the eye.
Mashrafe Mortaza's captaincy should be lauded: Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has been a powerful leader for the Tigers and his presence of mind has helped the team collect results in their favour. Mortaza, who despite being injured played in the World Cup, saw his team reach the quarter-finals of the event. Mortaza's determination and faith in the team's ability has paid dividends.
Mortaza's handling of a young team has been the flavour of the season and his performances with the ball too have been appreciated from all corners. Mortaza has picked 26 wickets in 18 ODI matches starting from the series against Zimbabwe in November 2014. Moreover, his faith in youngsters' all-round effort has been the fresh outlook of this side.
Bangladesh's pace bowling has been a major highlight and under coach Heath Streak, they have found a mentor whose wisdom has been received well by the bowlers. Mortaza will want to keep this run going and also continue to deliver match-winning results with his own contributions.
Rise of youngsters have contributed largely: The Bangladeshi youngsters have taken every opportunity in their strides so far and all of them are having a story to script in the famous victories. Mustafizur Rehman's burst into the ODI format is the dream start for any young cricketer and the left-arm pacer has rocked top opponents so far. After being declared as the Man of the Series against India, Mustafizur bowled well against the Proteas too, to keep his good form going.
The youngster has accounted for the dismissals of top batsmen of the world and at the age of 19, he looks to have a very bright future ahead with the Tigers thinktank hoping to keep his magic alive for a longer run.
The performances of Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed have also been noteworthy. Taskin has taken 21 wickets in 14 games since making his debut in 2014. Rubel has been the more aggressive bowler amongst the pacers. Bangladesh's success at home has relied largely a lot on their spinners and Nasir Hossain has been contributing with both bat and ball.
Opening batsmen Soumya Sarkar has been the stand out performer with the bat and has helped Bangladesh lay foundations at the top. His stroke-filled back-to-back innings against South Africa showed maturity in the way he batted till the end to chase the total. The 22-year old has already scored 692 runs in 16 matches.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan have been solid: Bangladesh's commanding performances have been possible because of significant contributions from the two senior members of the team -Mushfiqur and Shakib. The duo have held the middle-order solidly and have notched up performances on a consistent basis.
Mushfiqur had a dream World Cup this year and he played remarkably well in the series against Pakistan. His senior partner Shakib has been Bangladesh's most consistent player over the years and has showed his value in all formats of the game. The 28-year-old, who recently went past 200 wickets in ODIs, has had a major role to play in most of the victories.
Also lies in the mix is Tamim Iqbal, who is handling his responsibilities well as an opener. Tamim's aggression alongside Soumya at the top of the order has been Bangladesh's strength. Tamim is finally showing why he is a dependable force and is a threat to major teams.
Along with Mortaza, the duo are guiding the youngsters well and their fine run has motivated the youngsters to give their 100 percent every time they hit the field.