IRELAND’S TOUR OF BANGLADESH, 2023
Ireland focussed on progress, and not necessarily results
by Atif Azam • Last updated on Sun, Mar 19, 2023
Ireland head coach Heinrich Malan said on Sunday that his charges need to be well aware that playing in Bangladesh is not only about dealing spin since th hosts have a formidable pace attack as well.
Ireland lost the opening game by 183 runs in the opening game of the three-match ODI series and would be keen to win the second game to remain alive.
Bangladesh pace bowler Ebadat Hossain (4-42) and Taskin Ahmed (2-15) shared six wickets among them while Shakib al Hasan and Nasum Ahmed (3-43) picked up the remaining four wickets to help Bangladesh earn their biggest win in the ODIs.
With rain and overcast conditions, while it looks that the weather will be more suited to the Irish side but Malan insisted that the hosts will also be looking forward to capitalize on it as their fast bowling unit, with Mustafizur Rahman as third seamer, is quite a formidable one.
“It is a lot more our sort of conditons, isn’t it? Hopefully it keeps raining and hopefully it (the ball) keeps moving around,” Malan told reporters at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
“Look, let’s not look beyond the fact that Bangladesh has three quality seamers too. They highlighted last night that they have become a very good all-round side,” he said.
“It is not just about playing spin anymore. They have an accomplished seam attack. If it is a little overcast and rainy, it will be a little more comfortable for us. We have to play in what’s in front of you and we are looking forward to the challenge in Bangladesh,” he added.
Ireland reduced Bangladesh to 81-3 before Towhid Hridoy (92) and Shakib al Hasan (93) added 135 off just 125 balls to give the host a solid platform for a big total and Mushfiqur Rahim capitalized it to the fullest making 26-ball 44 that included three sixes and as many fours, coming at number six.
“We are trying to find ways to get wickets in the middle overs of white-ball matches. We picked up some wickets in the Powerplay, they built a nice partnership through the middle and allowed them to get a foundation, to have a successful death period,” said Malan.
“We are taking that into account, looking at tomorrow we have to come up with one or two creative ways to get some quality players in the opposition under pressure,” he said adding that he is quite impressed with four-for in the opening game against the host.
“We know what we will get from Hume. He is a very consistent performer. He has been around for a long time. It has been a great addition to our bowling stocks. He has got a lot of opportunities over the last year with a few injuries. It is exciting that we are building a pace bowling stock. He has put his name up in lights now through his performance. Hopefully he can keep doing that for us.”
Malan added that they are not looking for just results ad rather focusing on the way they are progressing as a team, but alo insisted they still feel they can upset the hosts.
Ahead of the series, Irish skipper Andrew Balbirnie echoed a similar sentiments.
“It is not the result that we are obviously after. I think it was a nice little opportunity for us to get a feel for the conditions. They were better than what we anticipated. It was a nice surface. It wasn’t as effected as we thought it would be. It is something that we identified and something we will rectify tomorrow( in the second game),” said Malan.
“The captain said that we are focusing on the way we play. Of course it is about results. We understand international cricket is about winning and losing, but it is the way we go about our business,” he said.
“I think if you look at the last 12 months, the way we have tried to play got us into opportunities to beat some of the bigger sides. We beat England in the World Cup,” he said.
“We look at this series as one of those opportunities as well, to come here, in different conditions against a team that just beat the world champions, and show what we got in the bank,” he concluded.