'Batting will be key'
Bangladesh cricket has already entered a new era where the Tigers' main aim is to convert their dreams into reality. They are a team whose name is uttered with a lot of respect nowadays when it comes to limited-overs cricket.
It was not long ago that they were considered novices in the five-day game despite a few glittering performances, but the entire complexion changed following their recent Test win against England at home.
However, a new challenge now stands before the Tigers -- the challenge to make their presence felt on foreign soil. And when Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim exuded confidence of playing good cricket in the upcoming New Zealand tour prior to the team's departure for Sydney, it was not just a case of issuing a catchy soundbite.
Mushfiqur knows how big a challenge it will be to push New Zealand in their territory and he was focused on his batsmen as he believes a lot will depend upon how they cope with the demanding conditions.
However, he has confidence because of the brilliant way in which the Bangladesh batsmen, including the skipper himself, applied themselves in different yet equally demanding conditions at home during the two-match Test series against England.
“I believe the batsmen will have to cope with the conditions and if they can do that, it will be a very good series for us. We have the ability and the confidence. We have good memories of playing good cricket at home against England and I firmly believe that our batsmen are capable of applying themselves in New Zealand's conditions,” said a self-assured Mushfiqur while talking to The Daily Star yesterday.
“The performance in the World Cup down under [2015 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand] will also help our confidence. We carry fantastic memories of the World Cup,” he added.
Mushfiqur believed that the upcoming series would pose a challenge unlike any other so far while also setting the tone for the Tigers' busy international schedule in the coming months.
“This series is a different challenge for us. We have been playing good cricket at home. It is in this series that we will have to prove that we are capable of carrying the momentum,” added the Test skipper, who was accompanying the first batch of cricketers to Australia as part of the Tigers' preparation for the tour.
“We have a lot of matches in the coming year and this is a series from where we can take our voyage to a higher destination,” he continued.
The injury to two pace bowlers had hampered the think-tank's initial plans but Mushfiqur said that what had happened was out of their hands.
“Yes, we suffered a few blows following the injuries to the pacers. I am especially frustrated with [Mohammad] Shahid's injury, but we have no hand in that and I still believe we have a good bowling attack,” opined Mushfiqur.
The Tigers will attend a camp in Sydney till December 18 before leaving for New Zealand where they are scheduled to play three ODIs, three T20Is and two Tests against the Black Caps.
However, Mushfiqur believed that the camp, no matter how short, would be of great benefit to the team.
“It is a very short camp, but we believe it will help us tremendously as it will help us acclimatise with the conditions.”
Dec 26: 1st ODI, Christchurch
Dec 29: 2nd ODI, Nelson
Dec 31: 3rd ODI, Nelson
Jan 3: 1st T20, Napier
Jan 6: 2nd T20, Mt Maunganui
Jan 8: 3rd T20, Mt Maunganui
Jan 12-16: 1st Test, Wellington
Jan 20-24: 2nd Test, Christchurch