All of the Bangladesh squad is now in New Zealand after skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Tamim Iqbal and three others were welcomed happily at the team hotel in Napier on Monday.
Seven members of the 15-man Test squad left Bangladesh later because of their Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) commitments. Mashrafe, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Saifuddin and Rubel Hossain-- who played variously for champions Comilla Victorians, runners-up Dhaka Dynamites and third-placed Rangpur Riders -- were the players who departed on December 10, two days after the BPL ended.
The ever-popular Mashrafe and Tamim were welcomed to the team hotel gleefully by Test vice-captain Mahmudullah Riyad. Bangladesh will play the first of their three ODIs against New Zealand on February 13. The ODI series will be followed by three Tests against the hosts.
This tour will be particularly challenging for Bangladesh because they will have to do without their talisman, Shakib Al Hasan, for most of their Kiwi voyage. Test skipper Shakib fractured his finger while batting in the BPL final for Dhaka Dynamites.