Vol. 5 Num 640 Fri. March 17, 2006  

Payback time for Tigers
Kenya-Bangladesh first ODI today

Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore put pressure on the Tigers ahead of the first game of the four-match one-day series against Kenya wishing to whitewash the visitors.

The match will begin today at 9.30pm at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium with StarSports, Bangla-desh Television and Channel i beaming the live telecast.

After the morning training session, Whatmore told at a press briefing that he was backing his boys for a 4-0 win against Kenya.

"They are a good team but I am not considering the strength of the opposition. If we are to make a habit of winning, this is the time to go for it," said the Australian coach, whose side have won at least one match in the three previous one-day series at home.

Bangladesh, now tenth in the ICC one-day ranking, will overtake ninth-placed Zimbabwe if they win the series at least 3-1.

Bangladesh captain Habibul Bashar was also optimistic despite their poor record against Kenya, who have won six out of seven previous one-day clashes against the hosts. Kenya also have better overall record, winning 15 ODIs in 75 appearances compared to Bangladesh's 11 wins in 105 games.

"Yes, statistically they are ahead. But in the last three-four years, we have changed a lot. They will see a different Bangladesh team this time," said Bashar.

Kenya will depend a lot on the batting prowess of Steve Tikolo but Bashar said they were not concentrating on the master batsman alone.

"We are thinking Kenya as a whole team, not just Tikolo," said Bashar.

It has been three years since the two met and Kenya were the victors in the 2003 World Cup match in South Africa. The East Africans, who were the surprise semifinalist of the World Cup, hardly played any international match between the World Cup and a series in Zimbabwe.

"We have prepared well although our exposure to international cricket is minimum. We drew a series with Zimbabwe 2-2 recently and we are here to prove us. They boys look enthusiastic," said Tikolo, whose side practised one hour more than their opposition.

"I am not concerned about previous records because its history. Also, Bangladesh are a Test nation now and play in a different league. It is a new series for us and we have come here to win," the Kenyan captain added.

The home side, meanwhile, retained the same side that played against Sri Lanka in the last one-day international in February, keeping paceman Shahadat Hossain and all-rounder Manjarul Islam out. Rajin Saleh is expected to start as the supersub.

Nadir Shah will make his one-day international debut as umpire when he stands with Pakistan's Nadim Ghouri.

Habibul Bashar (captain), Javed Omar, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Mohammad Ashraful, Alok Kapali, Khaled Mashud, Mohammad Rafique, Mashrafee Bin Mortuza, Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel and Rajin Saleh.

KENYA (from): Steve Tikolo (Captain), Thomas Odoyo, Martin Suji, Kennedy Otieno, Otieno Suji, Peter Jimmy, Hitesh Modi, David Obuya, Collins Obuya, Alfred Luseno, Morris Ouma, Kalpesh Patel, James Kabatha and Tanmay Mishra.

Bangladesh cricketers Mohammad Ashraful (L), Habibul Bashar (C) and Mashrafee Bin Mortuza pose during a practice session at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra on Thursday. PHOTO: AFP