Opening duo count on Aussie experience

Sakib al Hasan apart if anyone has better ideas about Australian conditions in the World Cup-bound Bangladesh squad he must be Anamul Haque or Soumya Sarkar. They are the two of the three cricketers from Bangladesh’s current squad to play in the ICC Under-19 World Cup in 2012 with paceman Taskin Ahmed being the other. Anamul will remember the tournament forever, not just because he was the captain of the side, but also because he ended up the tournament as the leading scorer — his first stride towards stardom. Soumya was also one of the most talked about players in the tournament, notwithstanding for a wrong reason. His Mankading of Australia’s Jimmy Peirson in the quarter-final stroked a controversy as it was done against the spirit of the game. Set a target of 172 runs, Australia were left reeling at 3-11 before bowler Soumya had Peirson run out for backing up too far before he had entered his delivery stride. Bangladesh refused to withdraw their appeal and Australia lost their fourth wicket for 33 runs. Though the hosts won the game eventually, they were furious because of what happened with Peirson as the batsman was never warned. Soumya can also recall the game for his only half-century in the tournament that set up Bangladesh’s total.

Anamul said those memories of the ICC Under-19 World Cup will certainly help him when Bangladesh begin their campaign with the match against Afghanistan on February 18. ‘Some of us played in the Under-19 World Cup, so you can say that will be a help,’ said Anamul. ‘We have already shared our experiences with others; personally everybody is aware what kind of situation we might face.  We are discussing that with each other and the coach.’ Anamul, who struck 365 runs with two centuries at 60.83, asked his team-mates not to be panicked. ‘I think in Australia the ball will go above your nose. But there is nothing to be intimidated. As we have seen in Big Bash and India-Australia series, the bounce will be even,’ said Anamul, who is known for his skill of playing big innings. The 22-year old opener has already become a mainstay in Bangladesh one-day international side scoring 892 runs in 27 matches. He did it despite all his technical incapacities, something that kept him always vulnerable against short-ball. His flaws were blatantly exposed at Test-match level but Anamul managed to survive in ODIs.  Anamul said the team was working on the weaknesses, a problem he is not alone to face.

The Tigers on Tuesday trained on a stone pitch, which Anamul said helps the ball skid.  ‘The ball also comes quickly onto the bat in this kind of pitch,’ he said. ‘It will help us to adjust to Australian conditions quickly,’ he said. Anamul claimed the true bounce in Australian conditions will rather be an advantage provided the batsman can play side shots like pull and hook. This is something also encourages Soumya who is skilled at pulling, perhaps better than some of his more accomplished team-mates. His 5ft 10inch height also gives him an advantage about playing short balls. Soumya said he will try to remain stick to the basics, which he believes is same for all conditions. ‘I don’t think I need to bring a drastic change in my approach in Australia,’ he said. ‘Cricket is same everywhere, just the conditions are different. If you change something basic, it will not bring any result.  So I will try to remain firm in my basics.’

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