Self-belief of Bangladesh is the key
A fast-improving Bangladesh are confident of upsetting another of world cricket's powerhouses on home turf when they take on South Africa in a three-match ODI series starting on Friday.
Although Bangladesh suffered a 2-0 reverse in the recent Twenty20 series against the visitors, the game's one-time whipping boys have become a force to be reckoned with in the 50-over format and have not lost an ODI series at home since February last year.
After their making it to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history earlier this year, Bangladesh then trounced Pakistan 3-0 in April before following up with a 2-1 triumph over India last month.
Although India's consolation win marked the end of a record 10-match home winning streak, Bangladeshi opening batsman Tamim Iqbal said that confidence in the camp was high despite losing the T20s to the Proteas.
"In the past year, the players have been reading ODIs much better and that's the reason I am sure that we will get more success in this format," Tamim told reporters ahead of the opening match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.
"So as a unit we are obviously confident. You can't lose all your confidence because of one or two defeats. When it comes to ODIs, we are a lot more confident unit and we will only grow in confidence."
A victory would cement Bangladesh's place in the eight-team ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 which would be another important milestone in the side's development.
Faf du Plessis, who led the South Africans in the T20s but will now hand over the captaincy for the ODIs to Hashim Amla, said the Proteas had managed to dent the hosts' confidence with their triumph in the shortest format.
"But I also appreciate and understand that one-day cricket is a different format so we will go back to making sure we prepare really well for the one day series," du Plessis told reporters.
South Africa are resting their normal ODI captain AB de Villiers who would anyway have been banned from the first game as punishment for a slow over rate during the World Cup semi-final loss against New Zealand.
Coach Russell Domingo insisted that the absence of one of the world's best batsmen could be a blessing in disguise as South Africa look to rebuild after their World Cup disappointment.
"It would be a great opportunity to develop the next tier of batters during this series," Domingo said.
Leg-spinner Eddie Leie, who took 3-16 in an impressive international debut in the second Twenty20 international, has replaced de Villiers in the ODI squad.
Bangladesh have recalled batsmen Mohammad Mahmudullah and Anamul Haque in their 14-man squad.
Mahmudullah missed the India series after fracturing his left index finger while Anamul was injured during the World Cup in March and was sent back home from Australia.
The second and third ODIs will be held on July 12 and 15 in Dhaka and Chittagong.
The two teams will also play a two-Test series following the ODIs.
Bangladesh squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Litton Das, Arafat Sunny, Jubair Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman
South Africa squad: Hashim Amla (capt), Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Rilee Rossouw, David Miller, Chris Morris, Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Imran Tahir, Farhaan Berhardien, Eddie Leie, Ryan McLaren