x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mortaza remains upbeat despite worrying form

Rocked by injuries and a string of defeats, Bangladesh will be searching for some belief when they meet England in the second ODI at Bristol.

Rocked by injuries and a string of defeats, Bangladesh will be searching for some belief when they meet England today in the second one-day international (ODI) in Bristol. Since the start of this year, Bangladesh have lost all their 24 matches on the international stage in the three formats of the game: seven Tests, 14 ODIs and three Twenty20s.

Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, admits these results have harmed the team's morale and he is hoping for a change of fortune against a team they have never beaten in 12 previous ODIs. "I think we need some belief, definitely," Mortaza was quoted as saying on Cricinfo. "Hopefully, we will find it next game. "It's very difficult to beat a team like England in England. They beat Australia and they are in really good form. Also, we have lost two key players in the side, so it's not easy.

"Hopefully, the boys that are experienced will show some good batting. But the team is definitely under pressure now. We have lost 20 games in a row, and as a captain I have to lift the other 14 guys." Bangladesh will go into the game without Mushfiqur Rahim, their first-choice wicketkeeper, and Raqibul Hasan, their top scorer in the first game, which the hosts won by six wickets. Rahim was struck in the face while standing up to Faisal Hossain, the left-arm spinner, and he has been ruled out for one week. Raibul will be out of action for two weeks after being struck on the toe by James Anderson during his knock of 76.

Mohammad Ashraful, Naeem Islam, the all-rounder, and Sahgir Hossain, the wicketkeeper, are being flown in from Bangladesh as replacements. England have few such worries, with confidence high in the camp since the World T20 triumph. They beat Australia 3-2 in their ODI series and even reserves such as Ian Bell have come in and thrived. "I think from the Tests through to T20s, there's a real confidence about the side, and a lot of it overlaps so you feed off it," said Bell, who scored an unbeaten 84 in the first match after coming in for his first ODI since 2008 as Kevin Pietersen's replacement.

"Coming into this squad and being around for the Australia series was fantastic. It was very easy to slot in because of the confidence that everyone has. "It felt as normal as it did to go into the Test matches, and I think it's spreading over all forms of the game." There have been concerns about Anderson's form, but Andrew Strauss, the England captain, dismissed them yesterday. Anderson has gone for more than 60 runs in four of his last five one- day outings, with figures of three for 74 in the last game, but Strauss is satisfied with the pacer's performance.

"I think it's probably best to separate his bowling spells a little bit because in the middle stages and at the back end he's been exceptional throughout the recent series," Strauss was quoted as saying by the Press Association yesterday. "At the top of the innings he's occasionally been a bit expensive and that's an area we will hopefully work with him on. But I'm very happy with the skills he's got. He's able to adapt very quickly and he has a lot of different ways of bowling which, as a captain, is a great thing to have."

* Compiled by Ahmed Rizvi