Bangladesh have previously played three bilateral series in New Zealand and duly lost without making much of an impression. This is something very much common for a touring team and the latest instance is Pakistan's defeat against the Black Caps a couple of months back. It is said that even the all-conquering West Indies struggled in this part of the world.
But what is the difference between Bangladesh's visit this time and their last three tours that can possibly change their fortune? According to Bangladesh's most successful one-day captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza the biggest difference is that the present corps has got a very positive mindset.
“As you have said, every team in the world struggles in New Zealand. It will not be different for us. But our mindset is different now. When we came here before, our concern was what can we do and what the opponents will do. But we don't have that negative thinking now. We can have a bad day but we are mentally very positive about doing well,” observed the Bangladesh captain while talking to reporters on Sunday, on the eve of the first ODI at the Hagley Oval today.
He also said that he was aware of the tough challenges in different conditions away from home.
“We could not have better prepared considering the time and journey we have had. This is a colder place than we had experienced in our camp in Sydney. We are here for the last two days. It's a bit cloudy today. We will have to adjust with the conditions. We are hopeful of playing good cricket,” said Mashrafe, adding that the first game of any series is very important.
“In a one-on-one series the first match is very important. If you come out well in the first game it helps for the rest of the series. These are different condition but we have prepared ourselves individually and collectively,” he added.
He was of the opinion that the wickets for the bilateral series would not be as good for batting as it is during an ICC event.
“We will not get the same kind of wicket that we got in New Zealand in the last World Cup. In the World Cup you always get better wickets,” Mashrafe observed.
But the Hagley Oval wicket, where Bangladesh will play their first-ever match, has already confused both the Bangladesh captain and coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
“It was green a day back. It's a bit brown today. And they are saying we are going to get a wicket where 290-300 runs will be possible,” said a confused Bangladesh skipper.
And the changing nature of the wicket also put Bangladesh's think-tank in a spot of bother regarding the final selection for the first ODI.
If the wicket is brown on Monday then Bangladesh will most probably field three pacers in an attempt to accommodate a bowling all-rounder and preferably a spinning all-rounder. In that event if Mustafizur Rahman is fit to play, Rubel Hossain will have to sit out the game. Besides, leg-spinner Tanbir Hayder has got a bright chance to make his Bangladesh debut ahead of Mosaddek Hossain, the young off-spinning all-rounder who has been a bit uncomfortable with the bat on bouncy practice wickets.