Having endured a torrid string of losses to Sri Lanka at home in the first two months of the year, the Bangladesh cricket team reached Sri Lanka yesterday in the hope that the third month will bring better returns. A new month, however, does not improve the Tigers' chances because they are in Colombo to play a T20I tri-series that involves a confident home team and a mighty India side, against whom Bangladesh will play their first match on March 8.
The tri-series will kick off tomorrow with India taking on Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium, the venue for all of the matches of the tournament.
Mahmudullah Riyad will lead the team in the possibly crippling absence of Shakib Al Hasan, who was ruled out of the tour on Saturday because of a finger injury picked up on January 27 in the ODI tri-series final defeat to Sri Lanka in Mirpur. Khaled Mahmud is no longer in the technical director's role that he performed in the home series in the absence of a head coach after Chandika Hathurusingha quit his post last November. He is back as manager and Bangladesh bowling coach Courtney Walsh will perform the role of interim head coach for this tournament.
The stats do not pain a very optimistic picture. Bangladesh have won just 21 of 71 T20Is, lost all five against India and won just two of nine against Sri Lanka. Although Mahmudullah said that the objective is to win the tournament, considering the poor recent results, it may just be enough for Bangladesh to correct course by giving a good account of themselves over the next fortnight.