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Monday, April 21, 2008
Sports

Siddons looks on the bright side

Jamie Siddons

Jamie Siddons, Bangladesh's coach, was expecting to be whitewashed by Pakistan, but said he can take a few positives out of this series. Bangladesh were competitive in only two of the five matches, losing the last one-day international in Karachi on Saturday by 150 runs.

"Realistically I came here thinking we might lose 5-0," said Siddons. "You guys might think that is negative thinking but I think it is realistic. I know where we stand, where we are and where we need to get."

Most of the positives were to be found in Bangladesh's batting, where Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyad flickered, though not as often as Siddons would have liked. "I'm disappointed in the last two games where our top four kept letting us down badly. We're very disappointed with that.

"But we can take something from this. We made 200 three times in this series and we haven't done that against Pakistan. We'll take that, we'll take Shakib's hundred, a couple of innings from Tamim and Mahmudullah as well. Mashrafe (Bin Mortaza) was world class for us through the series."

Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh's captain, had a miserable series, ending with only 81 runs. A couple of other top-order batsmen also failed to fire, prompting Siddons to highlight the failures of top players. "Some of the big names were disappointing for us and that didn't help. We still can't bowl sides out and we still don't make 250-260 consistently. But we've got some good guys out there and in a couple of years we can make something of them."

Though Siddons was happier with his batting performance, he might take objection to Shoaib Malik's assessment of their skills. Malik, Pakistan's captain, was celebrating an 11th successive ODI win, thus beating Pakistan's previous most successful run of 10 matches under Imran Khan and Javed Miandad in 1990.

"If you compare them to Zimbabwe who we played earlier, I think Zimbabwe's batting was better than Bangladesh's," said Malik. "They batted according to the match situation whereas Bangladesh attack from the start. There is only a small difference between the two sides."

The whitewash was helped considerably by a record-breaking performance from Salman Butt, who made two hundreds and two fifties in the series. The 451 runs he scored was a record of sorts, going past Mohammad Yousuf as the scorer of most runs in a five-match bilateral series. But Malik said Butt's wasn't a lone hand.

"Butt was superb for us through the series, but I would say the entire team did well. Shahid Afridi took 12 wickets as well and others performed for us. Ultimately, it is great to break the most wins record. Winning against any team is winning so we're proud of that, but the credit for it goes to all the players."

Pakistan now prepare for a tri-series in Bangladesh before hosting the Asia Cup and ICC Champions Trophy later in the season. "We are trying to create competition for our players, in opening, in the middle order and bowling as well. We want to have a pool of players, all picked on their performance because we have some tough tournaments ahead."

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