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Windies start firm favourites

Khulna (Bangladesh), Nov 28, 2012, AFP: 23:02 IST
Bangladesh will be lacking their star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan when they face a buoyant West Indies in the five-match one-day series which begins here on Thursday.

The 25-year-old Shakib, who suffered a shin injury during the second Test which the West Indies won on Sunday to take the two-Test series 2-0, is also ruled out of the second one-dayer in Khulna on December 2.

It will be the first time Bangladesh have been without Shakib in a one-dayer since the 2008 Asia Cup in Pakistan. But captain Mushfiqur Rahim put on a brave face. “It (playing without Shakib) will be a big challenge,” he said.

“But we always plan to play consistent cricket. We are playing ODI cricket after a long time. They have a strong one-day side but we will use the Asia Cup memories to inspire us,” said Rahim.

Bangladesh beat India and Sri Lanka on their way to the final of the Asia Cup, which they narrowly lost to Pakistan at home in March this year. It was their last one-day match.
West Indies also have their injury problems, with spearhead Tino Best ruled out of the limited-overs series with a hamstring injury.

Best took a maiden five-wicket haul in the first Test in Dhaka and six in the second Test in Khulna to inspire the tourists to a series win. He has been replaced by uncapped fast bowler Jason Holder in the limited-over squad.

West Indian captain Darren Sammy said the balance of his squad was good. “The nucleus of the team is quite settled. The guys have been performing consistently in the last 6-12 months, which is a good sign,” said Sammy, whose team is on a high after winning the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka last month.

West Indies will be boosted by the return of fast bowler Kemar Roach, who missed the Test series due to a knee injury.

They also boast a star-studded batting line-up led by the dashing Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith.

Mominul called-up

Uncapped middle-order batsman Mominul Haque will replace the injured Shakib for the first two ODIs.

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