Four questions for the tri-series

Four questions for the tri-series

With their most recent outing being the disastrous tour of South Africa in September-October 2017, when they handsomely lost all seven matches across formats, there will be more than a few flaws to correct for the home team when they kick off their tri-series campaign today by taking on Zimbabwe in the opener at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur from 12:00pm today. The following are a few things to watch out for during the series.

Can Fizz lead the pacers out of the doldrums?

The Bangladesh team conceded 1,004 runs in three ODIs in South Africa while taking just 12 wickets -- an average of 84 runs per wicket at just over seven runs an over. Needless to say, a repeat of such toothless and profligate bowling will not bode well for Bangladesh. To that end the coaching staff and technical director have been working hard with the bowlers in the training camp that began on December 27.

They have one big hope in the returning Mustafizur Rahman, who was ruled out on the eve of the South Africa ODI series with a twisted ankle. That is not to say that Mustafizur's presence would have made a big difference in South Africa as he averages a none-too-impressive 30. 55 in away conditions, but the numbers strongly indicate that his presence at home is a substantial one.

Back in 2015, he was the spark that ignited Bangladesh's ODI rise and his home record is a fantastic 26 wickets from nine matches at an astonishing average of 12. 34. His brand of beguiling cutters are especially suited to the grip offered by the Mirpur wicket, and how he starts today will be integral to Bangladesh's search for their first triangular trophy.

Will the number three puzzle finally be solved?

Since the start of 2015, there have been seven batsmen tried at the pivotal number three position in ODIs and the best average among them was the discarded Soumya Sarkar and vice-captain Shakib Al Hasan's 29, the latter playing just one match in the position in the first ODI against South Africa in Kimberley last year. Technical director Khaled Mahmud yesterday informed that Shakib will be the one tried in that spot today and, judging by his statement that the team management wants a regular number three, for the rest of this series.

Shakib is as good a choice as any, given his ability to read the game and take it by the scruff of the neck. With a rich 2017 with the bat, Shakib is well placed to solve the puzzle for the time being, but it will be important for him to hit the ground running today.

Will Riyad get the time his talent warrants?

Mahmudullah Riyad is the man for every position. He has batted as low as number eight in the order and as high as number three, where he hit his two successive World Cup tons in the 2015 event in Australia-New Zealand. In South Africa, he batted at number five in the first match, but was demoted to number six for the next two. Mahmud has recently said that the batsman has been underutilised lower down the order and said that he will likely bat at number five today. Like Shakib, if Mahmudullah can make this spot his own it will make for a more stable batting lineup.

Can Anamul step up?

Having hit a rich vein of form in domestic cricket, Anamul Haque has been recalled to the national squad at what could be the perfect time for the right-handed opener to make a comeback. Soumya Sarkar seems to have been deemed a failed experiment for the time being, and with Imrul Kayes yet to recover from a thumb injury, Anamul will now open with Tamim Iqbal. With the two left-handed openers named above not really making the number two position their own despite repeated chances, a left-right opening partnership with Tamim-Anamul may not be the worst thing.

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More storks opt to spend the winter in the Netherlands

More storks opt to spend the winter in the NetherlandsStorks in a field, hunting. Photo: Depositphotos.com

More storks are overwintering in the Netherlands, according to the Dutch stork research foundation. According to preliminary figures, the volunteers spotted 583 storks in the Dutch countryside, compared with 447 last winter.

Every January, the foundation’s volunteers count the number of storks at p

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India seek 'intent' to combat SA speed kings

India seek 'intent' to combat SA speed kings

You can't just stand there and take whatever is coming your way and not have intent," Kohli said after his team were beaten by 72 runs in the first Test in Cape Town.

You might get out but it's important to keep coming at the bowler and making them feel, 'if you make an error I am going to score.

With conditions at Centurion again likely to favour fast bowling, the problem for India is not just how they should execute Kohli's strategy -- but who should do it.

No Indian top-order batsman made more than 28 in either innings in Cape Town. The only two scores above 30 were 93 by Hardik Pandya in the first innings and 37 by Ravichandran Ashwin in the second.

Pandya and Ashwin were batting at number seven and eight respectively, which suggests India have enough depth in their batting order -- if their top-order players can get themselves through the new ball.

At least two batting positions will be debated as the tourists seek a way to play themselves back into the three-Test series.

Left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan fell to short-pitched deliveries in both innings and there is an argument for Lokesh Rahul to take his place, while Ajinkya Rahane must be a contender to replace Rohit Sharma at number five.

Kohli said the selection for Cape Town was based on form. Rahane had a dismal recent series against Sri Lanka but has shown the ability to score runs away from home.

On India's 2013/14 tour of South Africa Rahane scored 47, 15, 51 not out and 96 in the two Test matches and looked one of the best-equipped Indian batsmen against pace.

South Africa, meanwhile, look set to once again pick a four-pronged pace attack, although they have to replace the injured Dale Steyn.

There are three candidates -- two out-and-out pace specialists in Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi or Chris Morris who has batting skills as well as the ability to bowl at more than 140 kmh.

Both teams showed batting fragility in Cape Town, with India's pace bowlers showing they too could take advantage of helpful conditions.

AB de Villiers' aggression in innings of 65 and 35 was a key factor for South Africa. It is that sort of intent that both teams will be seeking in what promises to be another action-paced Test.

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (capt), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Chris Morris or Duanne Olivier or Lungi Ngidi, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel.

India: Virat Kohli (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan or Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

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African duo to be decided

  • Published in Sports
African duo to be decided

January 2018 is an important month in the race for places at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018, with the qualifying competitions in the CAF, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF zones all reaching their conclusions. By the time they do so, the line-up for the world finals will be complete.

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Pics: Virushka's Cape Town tour

Authors: Ecroaker. com Boosters.

Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are making the most of their time in Cape Town, South Africa. The two have been seen street shopping, dancing and spending some amazing moments together. Now, in the new set of pictures, we see Anushka smiling bright for the camera with Virat, and giving perfect company to the newly weds is Virat's close friend and cricketer Shikhar Dhawan along with his family. YRF's official Instagram handle shared the pics. In another picture, Anuhska and Virat can be seen posing together.

Earlier in the day, Virat took to Twitter and shared the latest selfie with Anushka. But more than appreciating the scenic beauty of Cape Town, it was his adorable words for his wifey dear which caught our eyes. Cape Town is such a beautiful place anyways, and even more beautiful with my one and only! the Indian skipper wrote.

Anushka and Virat got married in a private ceremony in Tuscany, Italy on December 11. They broke the news of their wedding on Twitter and went on to become the most trending celebrity couple of the year. The two, after honeymooning in the snow-clad mountains of Europe, celebrated their togetherness with family and friends in Delhi and Mumbai.

The pictures were shared by Yash Raj Talent's handles.

Yesterday, the couple was also spotted spending good time with Akshay Kumar, who was holidaying in Cape Town during the New Year's week. While Akshay has returned to Mumbai, Anushka is expected to comeback post Virat's test match with South Africa. This would be the first match for Virat post wedding. Anushka is expected to begin shooting for Sui Dhaaga as soon as she comes back to the town, apart from the post-production work on Pari.

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After Djibouti, China To Build Second Foreign Naval Base In Pakistan

After Djibouti, China To Build Second Foreign Naval Base In Pakistan

Chinese sailors stand at attention on board the Harbin missile destroyer

New Delhi: China is planning to build its second overseas naval base near Pakistani’s Gwadar port following the opening of its facility in Djibouti last year.

A report in the South China Morning Post said that Gwadar port was a key part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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