Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 16th 2015 Contents Both Mustafizur Rah-
man and Litton Das have
had their international
debuts out of the way, but
a bigger test awaits them
in the ODI series against
Bangladesh s emphasis
on finishing within the top
eight to qualify for the 2017
Champions Trophy makes
the three-match series that much more
The top seven sides in the world, plus
hosts England, will compete at the next
global 50-overs tournament and the
cut-off date for qualification is Sep-
With Bangladesh having their most
settled line-up in ODIs to add to avail-
ability of plenty of choices, it will be a
challenge for Mustafizur and Litton to
make the XI for the first ODI on Thurs-
Mushfiqur Rahim has already said he
has recovered from his finger injury to
keep wicket in the ODI series, while
Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain are
the first-choice seamers
alongside captain Mashrafe
Mortaza. This means that
the series could well start
as an educational one for
Litton, however, could be
included is if he his chosen
ahead of Rony Talukdar to
open with Tamim Iqbal in
the event of Soumya Sarkar
being asked to drop down to No 3.
Otherwise it could be either of Litton
or Talukdar at No 3, in which case Litton,
who kept wickets and scored an enter-
prising 44 against India in the lone Test
in Fatullah, will edge ahead.
Litton still wouldn t know whether
he is going to get his maiden ODI cap
on Thursday, but he was somewhat dis-
appointed at not making a bigger score
He took to the India attack, even going
after R Ashwin, their best bowler on
"The innings was okay," Litton said.
"My target was to avoid the follow-on,
maybe play a bigger innings for the team.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Ata-
pattu has said the absence of Saeed
Ajmal was a psychological boost for
the home side ahead of the three-Test
series against Pakistan that begins in
"The major change that I see in this
Pakistan side is that Saeed Ajmal is not
there," Atapattu said. "He has been their
main weapon and it s somewhat unfor-
tunate that things have fallen that way.
Teams have to face such situations.
"It s a psychological thing when you
know that Ajmal at his peak made not
only the Sri Lankans but a lot of batsmen
think," he said.
"He gave a lot of them sleepless
nights. Now that he is not there it s a
psychological advantage to us but still
you ve got to respect the good ball and
put away the bad ones. That s the men-
tality I expect our players to be in.
"I believe they ve got bowlers who
could win games but at the same time
they haven t done it yet."
Atapattu was, however, upbeat about
Sri Lanka s bowling, especially with the
"coming of age" of their fast-bowling
Atapattu said the upcoming series
was important because it was the start
of a new era for Sri Lanka cricket.
"We are getting into a new era without
the two big guns Mahela Jayawardene
and Kumar Sangakkara at some point
in time in the series. It s a new challenge
for the players in different slots and
hopefully they will grab them and hang
in there for a long time," he said.
Jayawardene has retired from all for-
mats of the game at the conclusion of
the 2015 World Cup while Sangakkara
is expected to do so during the series
against India coming up in August. San-
gakkara is currently playing for English
county Surrey and will join the Test
squad in Galle.
"Our fast bowlers are more disciplined
than a decade ago if you exclude
Chaminda Vaas who was in a different
class," he said.
"We are trying to bring in more dis-
cipline to our fast bowling unit and
hopefully we will see results.
"We don t have anybody who bowls
at 150kph at the moment but you really
don t have to. You don t need to be fast
to trouble a batsman. We are more
equipped in our unit to combat situa-
tions." Drop in fielding standards has
been an area of concern for Sri Lanka
in the last few months, following which
the team roped in the services of Jonty
Rhodes. Atapattu said the players have
worked hard in that area.
"Jonty Rhodes coming to Sri Lanka
doesn t mean that we are going to hold
onto every catch that comes our way,"
he said. "What we expected from Jonty
was to give us new tips and techniques
so that we can improve our players and
to work on them, which we are doing
through our local coaches who are capa-
"Our fielding can improve not only
because of Jonty s contribution but it
could be because the conditions are dif-
ferent here and more suitable for our
guys. We know our conditions better
than anybody else."
The majority of the players in the
Lankan squad will be coming out of a
three-month break from cricket which
according to Atapattu was a long-felt
"We ve been playing cricket since
November 2014 and it ran upto the
March 18, 2015 without a break other
than the 10 days we got between the
New Zealand tour and the World Cup,"
pointed out Atapattu. "It s been good
but on the other hand some players have
been playing there cricket elsewhere like
in IPL, and in England. Very few had
nothing and actually had a rest of three
Atapattu: Absence of Ajmal
a huge psychological factor
I wanted to take the team to a better
position. It was bad luck that I
couldn t do it.
"I just played to the merit of the
ball. I figured it (six off Ashwin)
was there to hit, so I went for it.
I think everyone is a bit tense when
they are making their debut but it
was fine for me."
Mustafizur also made an encour-
aging debut in April during the T20
against Pakistan. He took the wick-
ets of Mohammad Hafeez and
Shahid Afridi and looked quite
composed. Mustafizur has said that
he wants to channel that little expe-
rience into his selection for the India
"There was a lot of praise after
I did well against Pakistan,"
Mustafizur said. "I hoped to get
called up to the ODI side against
India from that time. I got called
up in the preliminary squad which
raised my hopes further. Maybe
that s why I am feeling so good
Mustafizur also said that his pri-
mary aim was to break into the
playing XI while not focusing too
much about India.
"I know they bat [India] very
well. Pakistan were good in T20
too. I didn t do too badly in that
game. But I am not thinking much
about India at the moment. I first
have to be in Bangladesh s playing
XI. That is my primary goal. If I
get a chance, I will do what I am
capable of doing. I am not thinking
too much ahead. I will try to bowl
my way." (ESPNcricinfo)
Litton, Mustafizur target maiden ODI caps
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