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Bangladesh ready to accept Australia, Covid challenges

  • Published at 07:44 pm August 2nd, 2021
Tigers
File photo of the Bangladesh cricket team and coaching staff during a team huddle in Mirpur BCB

The series is yet another opportunity for the two teams to work on plans and players selection ahead of the World T20I in October-November this year

Hosts Bangladesh will take on visitors Australia in the first of the five-match T20I series at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium Tuesday.

The series is a result of Bangladesh Cricket Board’s hectic days in meeting the Covid-19 safety conditions set by Cricket Australia.

The rigid conditions saw Bangladesh deprived from having the services of Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das, and eventually declare a 17-member squad in the late hours of Sunday.

But none of the boards will mind the strict guidelines given that the series is yet another opportunity for them to work on plans and players selection ahead of the World T20I in October-November this year.

Bangladesh are coming to the series on the back of a successful tour of Zimbabwe.

They won the lone Test, three ODIs and two of the three T20Is against the African nation.

But along the way, they missed veteran opener Tamim Iqbal to a deteriorated knee injury, while wicketkeeper-batsmen Mushfiq and Liton had to get out from the bio-secured bubble due to family emergencies, and were not allowed to get back in.

In such a situation, Shakib al Hasan and captain Mahmudullah will be expected to take most of the work load, with help from openers Soumya Sarkar and Mohammad Naim.

Bangladesh will rely on their spin bowling to avail home advantage, and will hope to have Mustafizur Rahman back from injury.

Through the series it remains to be seen whether Bangladesh have really turned around a corner after a run of lows in recent times, which was halted with the wins against Zimbabwe.

Before heading to Zimbabwe for almost a month-long tour, the side were below-par away from home, losing in Tests as well as all six of their limited-overs overseas fixtures.

This involved the three ODIs and as many T20Is in their tour of New Zealand in March this year.

In the longest format of the game, Bangladesh tasted their last Test win in February 2020 against Zimbabwe at home.

The solitary Test win against hosts Zimbabwe ended Bangladesh’s seven-game losing streak in the format.

Bangladesh are still winless against Australia in T20Is.

The two teams have faced in a handful of T20I contests before, all in World T20Is, playing just four matches, and in all those games, Australia dominated lower-ranked Bangladesh.

The current series is the maiden bilateral T20I series between the two teams.

Bangladesh however, can change history making best use against a weakened Australia batting line-up.

The visitors have missed their regular batting strength, which culminated in a 4-1 series loss in the West Indies.

Regular captain Aaron Finch is now unavailable.

The Aussies in place of Finch will now be led by wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade.

Their bowling attack remains to the mark with Mitchell Starc in the lead, but the five games in small intervals might make the team management shuffle to afford the players proper rest.

Bangladesh (probable):

Mohammad Naim, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib al Hasan, Mahmudullah (capt), Afif Hossain, Shamim Hossain, Nurul Hasan (wk), Nasum Ahmed, Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Shariful Islam

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