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Tuesday, October 19, 1999 Published at 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK

Wet welcome for England A squad

The World Cup win over Pakistan was Bangladesh's greatest achievement

England's A team have arrived in Dhaka for a 19-day tour of Bangladesh - just as the country was hit by the aftermath of a tropical cyclone.

The tourists, led by captain Mark Alleyne, were given a wet welcome as storms that had battered neighbouring India struck the Bangladeshi capital.

England A will play three-day and four-day games with the national team, as well as a limited overs match, in a tour that has been seen as crucial to the development of cricket in the country.

Bangladesh, which already has one-day international status, is campaigning to be elevated to cricket's Test-playing echelon.

[ image: Gloucestershire's Mark Alleyne is captain of the England A squad]
Gloucestershire's Mark Alleyne is captain of the England A squad
The sport is hugely popular among the general population, who are still celebrating the team's shock victory over eventual runners-up Pakistan in the recent World Cup in England.

Despite the relatively modest status of the Bangladesh team, England A are determined not to under-estimate their opponents.

Team boss Mike Gatting said: "This is going to be a tough and important tour for us."

After the Asian leg of the tour, Gatting's squad moves on to New Zealand.

West Indies romp

Bangladesh face an uphill struggle against England's second string team.

Last week in Dhaka, Brian Lara passed 6,000 one-day runs as he led the West Indies to a thumping victory against Bangladesh to clinch the Biman Millenium Cup after two limited-overs matches.

The Bangladeshis were fortunate when a three-day match was declared a draw because of foul weather.

But they lost the two one-dayers miserably to the Carribeans, who have now flown to Sharjah to play in a three-nation tournament also featuring Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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