Published: February 3, 2010
Bangladesh will kick off the New Zealand trip today with the only T20 International at the Seddon Park in Hamilton. The match starts at 12pm Bangladesh Standard Time with Sky Sports beaming the live coverage.
Aftab Ahmed will make an international comeback after more than one and half year as the dashing right-hander is included in the playing eleven for the tour opener.
Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons expressed his high hopes with the series where Bangladesh will play three one-day internationals and a Test match besides the T20 game.
“From my point of view, I expect us to win the one-day series, and win the Test match if we play well, without a doubt,” said the Australian.
CricInfo adds: It can be argued that Shakib Al Hasan’s young Bangladesh side is cut out for the Twenty20 format. In the recent Tests against India there were passages of play where their batsmen combined premeditated aggression with caution, often several times in the same over. The newest format of the game, however, gives them the license to not have to shoulder arms, and to throw the kitchen sink at everything – something that their cavalier batting line-up will fancy. Add the attraction of a smaller ground and the absence of Shane Bond, and Bangladesh emerge as serious contenders for the solitary Twenty20 fixture at Seddon Park.
Even as the higher-ranked teams struggled to come to grips with the format, Bangladesh got off to a strong start in Twenty20s, winning three of their first four matches, including one against West Indies in the inaugural World Cup. Reality has caught up with them since, and the next nine matches ended in defeat.
The hosts have their own problems to address, and will hope that Mark Greatbatch’s appointment as coach will end a tumultuous period that began with Andy Moles’ resignation in October. One of the biggest problems New Zealand have faced in recent times, albeit in the longer formats, is their misfiring top-order. Greatbatch has already identified it as a priority area and will hope his batsmen use this platform to ease back into form.
Brendom McCullum will have fond memories of the only previous Twenty20 match at Seddon Park, when he caned the West Indies bowlers to set up an easy win. He will have equally fond memories of batting against Bangladesh, in particular his brutal, unbeaten 80 in a Queenstown ODI that ended in quick time. The Bangladesh attack, sans Mashrafe Mortaza, will need some well-thought plans for the elder McCullum.
Bangladesh may not have found a pace bowler of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s quality but in Shakib they have a strong stand-in for the captaincy. While his batting was a let-down in the Tests against India, he was more than a handful with the ball. In the past, he has opened the bowling for Bangladesh in the shortest format and his searching lines and lack of pace could set up an intriguing duel against McCullum and co.
BANGLADESH: Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Aftab Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Rokibul Hassan, Mahmudullah Riyad, Nayeem Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shahadat Hossain, Shafiul Islam and Nazmul Hossain
NEW ZEALAND (probable): Brendon McCullum, Peter Ingram, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Jacob Oram, Daniel Vettori (captain), Nathan McCullum, James Franklin, Ian Butler, Daryl Tuffey, Tim Southee