IN FOCUS – West Indies in Bangladesh Test series 2012-13 preview

  The West Indies will make their second trip to Bangladesh in two years, following their 1-0 win in the 2-Test series last season. Bangladesh will be playing their first Tests since they hosted Pakistan 11 months back. 

The Matches

  As is expected of any series played in Bangladesh, this one too will be a short two-match series. The first Test will be played from November 13-17 at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka (Mirpur) while Khulna’s Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium will become Bangladesh’s 7th Test venue when it will host the second Test from November 21-25. West Indies had beaten the hosts by 229 runs at Dhaka to clinch the series 1-0 last season. 

Head To Head and Recent Record

  Bangladesh have played West Indies in 8 Tests so far, winning 2, losing 4 and drawing 2. This is Bangladesh’s best record against any team, as they won 2 out of their only 3 Test wins till date against a second-rate West Indies in the Caribbean in 2009. In Bangladesh, the record favours West Indies, who have won 3 out of 4 Tests, 1 being a draw. Last season, West Indies won the two-Test series in Bangladesh 1-0, courtesy a 229 run win in the 2nd Test after rain ruined the 1st Test at Chittagong.

          Khulna’s Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium is set to become the 107th Test venue (source – amaryellowpages.com)

Form Book and Ranking

  Bangladesh will be playing their first Test series since December 2011, when they were beaten by Pakistan at home. Earlier in the same season, Bangladesh lost at home to West Indies, and also lost the one-off Test in Zimbabwe, which marked the African nation’s Test comeback after 6 years. The ‘Tigers’ have been playing very less Test cricket, and have failed to impress in the few matches they play – no wonder they are ranked 9th. Their last Test win was against West Indies at St.Georges in 2009. For 7th-ranked West Indies, this is a bright chance of winning a Test series, something which they have rarely done of late. This season, the Windies won the home series against New Zealand but lost the 3-Test series in England by 2-0 in spite of some fighting performances. At the end of the last season, West Indies put up a spirited show at home against Australia, but lost 0-2 in the 3-Test series due to their tendency of having one terrible session of play in an otherwise even match.

       Marlon Samuels will be looking to continue his rich vein of form in Bangladesh

Players To Watch Out For

   Shakib al-Hasan is the pivot around which the Bangladesh team revolves. The former captain has been the world’s No.1 Test all-rounder for quite some time now, as per the ICC rankings. As always, his team will expect him to deliver much more than others. In the last match he played, against Pakistan at Dhaka, he became one of the few to have scored a hundred and taken a five-wicket haul in the same Test. The second coming of Marlon Samuels has been refreshing for the West Indies. With an excellent showing in England, where he finished as the highest run-getter in the Test series, Samuels proved that the Windies batting is not just about Chris Gayle alone. He has sealed the No.4 spot for himself, and has provided much-needed stability to the batting order. He will be looking to continue his rich vein of form. 

Prediction

  Although Bangladesh can be quite competitive at home, I do not see them winning a Test in this series. If  the rain stays away, the West Indies should win the series 2-0.

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