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A chance for young guns

Pakistan cricket team’s tour to Bangladesh has begun.  It will be the first time for ...

A chance for young guns

Pakistan cricket team’s tour to Bangladesh has begun.  It will be the first time for Pakistan that three different captains will lead in the three formats.

After the retirement of Misbah-ul-Haq from ODIs, new captain Azhar Ali is leading the side.

Shahid Afridi will lead in the only Twenty20.

And Misbah-ul-Haq will take Pakistan team’s command for the two Tests.

Sarfraz Ahmad, 2015 World Cup-famed wicket-keeper batsman, will be the deputy of Azhar.

Bangladesh are not considered one of the leading cricket nations, but their performance in the World Cup was quite impressive as they qualified for the quarter-finals stage.

It will be a good chance for the hosts to win the ODI and Test series.

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan believes his side should start as favourites in the ODI series against Pakistan, and that it would be the best chance to beat the tourists.

Misbah and Afridi are senior and have the ability to tackle any situation but for Azhar Ali it will be a real test. He is fortunate that he takes command against a comparatively weaker side.

Azhar Ali, 30, has played only 14 One-day Internationals, the last in January 2013, but he is confident that his side will maintain the unbeaten record against Bangladesh on their soil.

Azhar has the best available bowling combination with Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Saeed Ajmal.

The new captain received a setback when fast bowler Sohail Khan and middle order batsman Sohaib Maqsood got out of the ODI series due to injuries.

Against an ordinary bowling attack, it will be a good opportunity for young Saad Nasim, Sami Aslam, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail to cement their place in the national side.

Before the ongoing series, 32 ODIs had been played between the two countries. Pakistan have dominated with 31 wins. Bangladesh’s only win came in 1999 World Cup at Northampton when Pakistan were bowled out for 161 while chasing 224.

Pakistan have never lost a Test against Bangladesh; only eight Tests have been played between the two teams. Pakistan won all Tests. The only time they found it difficult was when they were chasing 261 in Multan in 2003 and were reduced to 5-99. The 9th wicket fell when four runs were required. Inzamam-ul-Haq guided Pakistan to a thrilling one-wicket win. He remained unbeaten with 138 runs and was declared Man-of-the-Match.

Pakistan’s 594-5 at Chittagong in 2011 is the highest Test total from both sides. Bangladesh scored their best 361 in 2003 at Peshawar. Interestingly in the second innings of the same Test, the Bengalis were bowled out for just 96 which is the lowest total from both teams.

Pakistan’s lowest Test innings total remains 175 which came in Multan during the 2003 series.

Pakistan’s Taufeeq Umar is the highest run-getter in bilateral Test cricket from both sides; he has 558 runs in seven Tests at an average of 55.80. He has hit two hundreds and three fifties. Habibul Bashar of Bangladesh is just behind him with 554 runs in six matches with the help of one century and six half-centuries, averaging 50.36.

Yousuf Youhana’s (now Muhammad Yousuf) 204 not out in Chittagong during the 2002 series has been the best individual score from both sides.

Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has 34 wickets in five matches. For Bangladesh former spinner Mohammad Rafique is the highest wicket-taker with 17 scalps at an average of 57.40.

Khurram Mahmood

Khurram Mahmood 2019

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