Bangladesh National Cricket Team ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza is taking Zimbabwe very seriously as they take on Chevrons in the first ODI of the series at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS) in the capital today. He viewed the ODI as the commencement of Bangladesh’s preparation for upcoming ICC World Cup 2019.
During a pre-match press conference, Mashrafe humbly disowned the tag of favourites and expressed his conviction of treating this match and this series with utmost seriousness.“I think this is an important series for us. Zimbabwe series alongside the upcoming series are part of World Cup preparation. Zimbabwe also sent their best team which is positive for us,” he added.
Bangladesh will be playing without Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. Bangladesh Cricket Board has turned the crisis into an opportunity and decided to test out some fresh faces.
Shakib Al Hasan’s injury gave an opportunity to Fazle Mahmud while seam bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin also got a recall for Zimbabwe series. Fellow all-rounder Ariful Haque who was sidelined during Asia Cup, is also set to make his ODI debut during three-match ODI series.
Despite the low-key nature of the match, all eyes will be on Tigers’ newcomers who are set to play their debut ODI series. It will be a test of temperament and cricketing sense for the young guns to prove their worth ahead of the forthcoming West Indies series and ICC World Cup next year. Mashrafe also felt that Bangladesh can now boast about a bunch of youngsters who can respond to the call of duty.
“We played incredible cricket without Shakib and Tamim in recently concluded Asia Cup but if we lose to Zimbabwe the critics as usual would come up with their own theories. Their criticism can put a lot of pressure on us. We should not think that Zimbabwe cannot beat us. I lost to Zimbabwe many times. I want to say that this is international cricket. It does not matter who opponent is,” Mashrafe said.
The unpredictable nature of the wickets of SBNCS has been long an issue which has haunted Tigers. But ‘Narail Express’ stated that Bangladesh players have become accustomed to the unpredictability of the wickets.“We also know that the wicket of Mirpur (SBNCS) is unpredictable. But I feel that the boys will not come up with such an excuse after playing in this wicket for so long,” hoped Mashrafe.
Mortaza said the three match series — with two more 50 over games in Chittagong on Wednesday and Friday — would be doubly important as Bangladesh have only four more series to prepare for next year’s World Cup in England.
Despite coming off a humiliating series defeat against South Africa, Zimbabwe appear to be a confident bunch. This confidence is partly due to all their seniors returning to action after a long while. Mashrafe also acknowledged this fact and stated that he is prepping to face tough competition against Zimbabwe.
“They have almost all their senior players back and outside Zimbabwe they have good record in Bangladesh. So we have to give our best,” Mashrafe concluded.