BANGLADESH TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND, 2019
One thing about this squad that we have is that it is vastly experienced now: Rhodes © Getty
Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes on Tuesday (February 12) said his team started as underdogs in the upcoming three-match ODI series against New Zealand. Bangladesh are yet to win across formats against and in New Zealand and were dealt a huge blow ahead of the series with the pair of Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed ruled out due to injuries.
Shakib, who was the player of the tournament at the just-concluded BPL, sustained a finger injury in the final while Taskin, who just earned a call-up to the national team after a two year gap, injured his ankle at the T20 tournament.
Rhodes, who’d earlier insisted that his team stood a good chance of beating New Zealand owing to their recent experience in the 50-over format, chose to temper his expectations in the wake of the double injury blow.
“The BPL has taken a lot out of them. We have two players now missing out on the tour, Taskin and Shakib. It has been hectic and it has been tough for them,” Rhodes told reporters ahead of the series. “I don’t know the whole tour. But certainly at the start of the ODI series, he [Shakib] won’t be available and it is a big blow to us. There are not many Shakib Al Hasans around the world.
“It’s a really big task. It doesn’t mean we can’t win. I think we have played some excellent cricket in the ODI format recently, beating Windies a couple of time. We should take a lot of heart from that. Coming out here against New Zealand, we know it’s going to be very difficult, very realistic. We quite like being underdogs. We can surprise a few people being an underdog. I think New Zealand know they have got to play some very good cricket to beat us,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rhodes said the forthcoming series will draw heavily from the Champions Trophy 2017 clash where Bangladesh defied pre-match expectations and the match situation courtesy a record partnership between Shakib and Mahmudullah to beat New Zealand in Cardiff.
“Yeah, a lot of them bring back that memory. I am sure New Zealanders do to and it is probably an inspiration for them too. But one thing about this squad that we have moving forward for the World Cup as well, it is vastly experienced now,” said Rhodes.
“They’ve got a lot of international ODI caps under their belt. One thing you got to have on a big tournament is some experience. That’s a good thing moving forward. It’s a good thing coming here,” he said.