Hoping for tougher opponents

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The quality of the opponents rather than the result has become a major concern as the Bangladesh National Cricket Academy prepares for a three-week tour to Australia.
The team, scheduled to leave on August 23, will play four one-day matches, a three-day match and a four-day match during their stay. All the matches will be held in Darwin.
Unlike other overseas tours, it has not been sanctioned by Cricket Australia but instead arranged by Shaun Williams, the Australian game development manager of the BCB.
Many have already raised doubts over the quality of the opponents, especially in light of what happened in the past. The Bangladesh Under-19 team, led by wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, had travelled to Australia in 2005 and returned home without conceding a defeat.
Although they won all 10 matches on that tour, questions were asked who did the Under-19 team actually play. The Bangladesh Cricket Board bore the entire expenses of that unofficial tour and they will do the same for Academy side as well.
‘Every penny of the BCB is worth of a drop of blood of the Bangladesh people. So we have to make every penny count. If we find the opponents this time are not quality, we will not send team for such a tour in future,’ said Lt Col (retd) Abdul Latif, the chairman of the BCB’s game development committee.
Khaled Mahmud, the coach-cum-manager of the touring side, however, said he expects tough opponents as he has been promised by officials of Northern Territory.
‘This is winter in Australia’s mainland, so there is no cricket possible in Australia’s main cities like Melbourne and Sydney. All cricket teams have now shifted to the Northern Territory. Naturally, we can expect to have some tough opponents,’ said Mahmud.
Skipper Mehrab Hossain, who played in the Darwin league for six months before getting a call up into the Bangladesh A team in 2005, said he also expects some tough opponents.
‘During my stint in Darwin, I saw how competitive their league was. During this period all promising cricketers from the other regions rush to Darwin to remain with the game. Obviously they will give us great competition,’ said Mehrab.

Aug 27 BCB Academy v WA one-day
Aug 28 BCB Academy v NSW one-day
Aug 30 BCB Academy v Queensland Academy one-day
Aug 31 BCB Academy v ACT one-day
Sept 2-4 BCB Academy v Tasmania three-day
Sept 7 BCB Academy v N Territory one-day
Sept 10-13 BCB Academy v N Territory four-day