Tigers turn to Ashraful
Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful looks set to return to the international fold against England at Bristol.
Last Updated: 09/07/10 8:14pm
Former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful looks set to return to the international fold for Saturday's second NatWest Series clash with England at Bristol.
The Tigers are in a depleted state after losing wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and recalled batsman Raqibul Hasan to injury in the series-opening six-wicket defeat at Trent Bridge.
Mushfiqur is out for a week after being taken to hospital when a Faisal Hossain ball reared up and hit him in the face, while Raqibul has a fractured toe after being struck by a James Anderson yorker.
Ashraful will arrive in England on Friday night having being called up as cover.
The aggressive right-hander has long been considered one of his country's most talented stroke-players, and was present at their famous victory over Australia in 2005, but his stock has fallen of late after a spate of modest performances.
All-rounder Naeem Islam, who played against England on their recent tour to Bangladesh, is also linking up with the squad but he is not expected to arrive until Saturday, ruling him out for the Bristol meeting but bolstering the numbers ahead of the series finale at Edgbaston.
The wicketkeeping situation is less straightforward, with Saghir Hossain requiring visa confirmation before he can take his place as Mushfiqur's understudy.
In the meantime, batsman Jahurul Islam - who was himself ruled out of the first ODI with illness - will take the gloves.
All of this adds up to a depressing state of affairs for newly reinstated captain Mashrafe Mortaza, whose job it is to oversee not only a first win of 2010 for his side but also a first ever victory over England.
Assessing the size of the challenge, he said: "I think we need some belief, definitely. Hopefully we will find it next game.
"It's very difficult to beat a team like England in England.
"They have just beaten 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."