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Monday, November 5, 2012

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The West Indies cricket team are scheduled to arrive in Dhaka today at 8:00 am to play what will be their fifth series against hosts Bangladesh. A glance at the matches between the two teams reveals a comparatively better statistic for Bangladesh than its record against the other Test playing nations.

So far, the teams have faced each other eight times in the Test arena with the West Indies winning four of them. The two matches that Bangladesh won took place in 2009 in West Indies when the Tigers swept aside a weakened West Indian line-up 2-0. However, the West Indies had their revenge last year, thrashing the Tigers at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium by 229 runs after a Chittagong draw to take the series.

In One Day Internationals (ODIs), the visitors have come out victorious in 14 of the 20 face-offs. The latest series took place last year in October when the West Indies won the ODI series 2-1.

The scenario leading into the upcoming series however isn't remotely similar to the team's previous visits. West Indies arrive in Bangladesh as the world Twenty20 champions and will definitely be exuding confidence.

In Sunil Narine, they have got a spinner who has deceived the best in the world. He is bound to be at his destructive best on the slow pitches of Bangladesh. Throw in spinners Narsingh Deonarine and Verasammy Permaul, who recently had a good run in Bangladesh with the West Indies High Performance team into the mix and it makes for a pretty lethal spin-attack. Chris Gayle's return to the national fold in June has changed the fortunes for the visitors in all versions of the game and he along with Marlon Samuels will play a pivotal role in their team's batting line-up.

The West Indies have won two out of the eight Test matches that they played this year. Six of those were against powerhouses England and Australia. They played and won their last two matches against New Zealand at home in July-August.

On the contrary, Bangladesh's situation, at least in the Test arena, depicts a sorry tale. The Tigers played their last Test match in December last year, where they were beaten convincingly by Pakistan at home. They reached a new low when they lost to Zimbabwe earlier that year, a series which saw the end of Shakib Al Hasan's captaincy.

The home side's preparation for this series hasn't been particularly great either. Oddly enough, the national players were busy preparing for the Twenty20 world cup for the last six months, a tournament which they ended up exiting in the first round. Furthermore, the national players will go into the series after having played just two rounds of the National Cricket League, a competition that was delayed due to various internal problems faced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

As things stand now, the only bright aspect of this series, from the Bangladesh perpective, seems to be the crowning of the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna as the country's seventh Test venue. The second Test match of the two-match series will be played in Khulna on November 21. The South-Western city will also host the first two ODIs on November 29 and December1 respectively. The three other ODIs will take place in Dhaka in December.

The West Indies will begin their tour on Thursday with a three-day match at the BKSP against BCB XI. The first Test begins at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on November 13.

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