Bangladesh keen to change history against South Africa

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Dhaka, July 4: Bangladesh's only memorable moment against South Africa came in their victory in the 2007 World Cup. Since then, they have no victory against the Proteas.

But from the team's captain to coach, all are of the view that they now have the perfect opportunity to reverse the string of losses. Their victory against 'big' teams is no longer considered a fluke, reports bdnews24.com.

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza

Mashrafe Mortaza's men are constantly performing well except against South Africa and Australia, against whom Bangladesh have only one victory each.

Their win against Australia, scripted by a brilliant Mohammad Ashraful, in 2005 at Cardiff and the 2007 World Cup victory against South Africa, riding on yet another brilliant Ashraful show, are the only high points.

The Cardiff victory is Bangladesh's lone win against Australia in 26 times the two teams faced each other in three formats while the triumph against South Africa is the only one in 24 matches.

However, in-form Bangladesh will this time play both on their home soil. Australia will tour Bangladesh in September while South Africa are already here.

0-10 record at home

Bangladesh lost all 10 previous matches against South Africa at home, mostly miserably.

But this Bangladesh team is far different than the earlier ones. It has been transformed under the leadership of Mashrafe.

"We have got an opportunity to improve our record against South Africa. We are now a very confident One-Day International (ODI) team. We take to the field to win and our attitude against South Africa will also not change," said Mashrafe.

"But it will be a tough task. South Africa are a far more balanced team than India. However, we are playing well and want to maintain this momentum."

The fast bowler views the upcoming series to do some self-assessment.

"After the win against Pakistan and India, this is our biggest challenge. South Africa are a strong side. After this, we will know where we stand," he said.

Tamim Iqbal, who played a useful knock of 38 as opener in the 2007 match, wants to revive the memory of that victory.

"This is of course our best chance. If we play as good as we have been playing, then definitely we can beat them," he said.

'The team is playing well'

Team selector Habibul Bashar, who captained Bangladesh during that World Cup, too, believes it is time for Bangladesh to achieve something remarkable.

"In the past, our team was never in good shape ahead of home series against South Africa. But this time, the team is playing well. Players are in form. Even the mental makeup of the team is very good. We have a very good chance of defeating South Africa," he said.

"We are not yet a very good Twenty20 side. We don't even get to play regularly in that format. They play a lot of matches in T20 leagues around the world. But in ODIs, we are a very confident side. I see better prospect in ODIs."

The incumbent ODI captain agrees.

Influence of IPL on SA players

"The other day while going though some statistics, I found that 6-7 of their players play regularly in different Indian Premier League (IPL) teams. They are also familiar with the conditions. So a win in T20 will be very difficult. Comparatively, we play better cricket in ODIs," Mashrafe said.

Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha is, however, not willing to dwell too much in the past.

"I don't believe in history. History is there to change. It is how we go about doing it is key. We are not part of history. We are part of present and what we do here now is important. I constantly tell them how good they are and what they can do. There is no reason why they can't do it," he said.

The two teams will play two T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests with the first T20I at Mirpur on Sunday.

IANS

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