Mortaza in race against time to boost Bangladesh

Nottingham: Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza admitted he faced a severe test of his leadership capabilities after the Tigers’ latest loss was compounded by injuries to two key players.

England cruised to a six-wicket win in the first one-day international as Bangladesh, yet to win in 2010, were well beaten at Trent Bridge in a day/night contest here on Thursday.

To make matters worse for Bangladesh, both wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and batsman Raqibul Hasan, who top-scored for the Tigers with 76, were ruled out of the remaining two games of the series after being hit on the cheekbone and toe respectively.

Bangladesh have lost all 24 of their internationals matches this year, a dismal run comprising defeats in seven Tests, 14 ODIs and three Twenty20s.

Pace bowler Mortaza, restored to the captaincy shortly before this series after a knee injury forced him out while leading the team in the Caribbean last year, told reporters, “I think we need some belief, definitely. “Hopefully, we will find it in the next game.”

But that next game is as soon as Saturday, in Bristol, and Bangladesh must move quickly if they are to bring in replacement players before the series ends at Edgbaston on Monday.

“We are trying to bring a keeper over maybe, and (Mohammad) Ashraful or Naeem (Islam) may be coming over too,” Mortaza said. “But we don’t know, we haven’t taken that decision.”

Mushfiqur, the only specialist keeper in the squad, was struck full in the face by a delivery from spinner Faisal Hossain that bounced and turned sharply.

The gloveman, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, fell to the turf immediately.

He needed several minutes of on-field treatment before he was carried off on a stretcher and taken to a nearby hospital.

Junaid Siddique deputised behind the stumps for the remainder of a match where Mushfiqur had previously shown his class with the bat by striking seamer James Anderson for two sixes late on in a Bangladesh innings of 250 for nine.

Bangladesh, it seemed, would at least enjoy the consolation of a fine return to international cricket by Raqibul, who’d retired in protest at being omitted from the Tigers’ squad for the World Twenty20 tournament won by England in the Caribbean in May.

But, late in his innings, Raqibul’s toe was broken by an Anderson delivery. Shakib Al Hasan was summoned as a runner but when the former captain was stranded mid-pitch, a limping Raqibul was rightly given run out even though he’d remained in his crease.

It was a dismissal that summed up Bangladesh’s match, with England coasting home thanks to 84 not out from Ian Bell, only playing because Kevin Pietersen, in the team that enjoyed a 3-2 win over Australia in the one-day series concluded at Lord’s last weekend, was injured.

“It’s very difficult to beat a team like England in England,” Mortaza insisted. “They beat Australia and are in really good form.

“Also, we have lost two key players so it’s not easy. Hopefully, the boys that are experienced will show some good batting.

“But the team is definitely under pressure now and as a captain I have to lift the other 14 guys (in the squad).”

Bureau Report