When Bangladesh take on the United Arab Emirates in the lead-up to the ICC World Twenty20 today at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium, it will not only be a mere warm-up game for the hosts.
From Tamim Iqbal's point of view, he will look to get his rhythm back when the left-handed opener makes his return to the field after keeping off it for a neck strain, for what he had missed the Asia Cup.
But the team think-tank would be looking for more in the two warm-up games. Bangladesh, who have been drafted in Group A along with Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal for the qualifying round, will play their second and final practice game against Ireland on March 14 at the same venue before the opening day battle against Afghanistan on March 16 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Usually warm-up games ahead of any big tournament always create an opportunity for the teams to fine tune for settling on the best combination and this is going to be no exception, but the wounded Tigers are also desperately looking forward to putting an end to their losing streak.
Losing too many close games in the recent home series against Sri Lanka and in the Asia Cup, especially the shocking defeat to newbies Afghanistan in the regional event, shattered the morale of Mushfiqur Rahim's men, and the need of the hour is a win which will work as tonic for the Tigers to get back their confidence.
"You know we had some injury problems, but now Tamim will play the match tomorrow and we can also see the other players. Ideally, a practice match gives an opportunity to look at your options before the main event, but I think we need a win right now because that always plays like a tonic to get back your confidence," said chief selector Faruque Ahmed yesterday. So, there is a chance Bangladesh will play the match with their best available players.
Tamim is a settled player in the team but it would be great for him, who played his last competitive game against Sri Lanka on February 14 in Chittagong, to go into the big tournament with some runs under his belt. Faruque also informed that pacer Mashrafe Bin Mortaza will not play the first warm-up game but he is likely to play the match against Ireland.
"We will try to find out the best combination and give all the players a chance," added Faruque.
Besides, captain Mushfiqur Rahim had a wicketkeeping practice yesterday, but he has a very slim chance to stand behind the stumps today. Anamul Haque had a reasonable performance behind the stumps since he took over the duty during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Chittagong following Mushfiqur's finger injury and there is a sentiment that it would be better for Mushfiqur to concentrate on his captaincy only, keeping him kept away from the additional duty of wearing the gloves.
"Actually we don't want to take any risk but everything depends on Mushfiqur himself," said Faruque.