Ashraful reckons Aussies as favourites
Among the monumental events in Bangladesh cricket's history that shaped the course of its evolution, the ODI win against Australia back in 2005 by riding on Mohammad Ashraful's brilliant hundred, during the NatWest Series in Cardiff, will undoubtedly remain right on top for the Tigers.
However, it remained the only win for Bangladesh in ODIs against the Aussies while the Tigers have also managed to register their first-ever win in Tests against Australia at home in 2017.
Although in the shortest format of the game, Bangladesh is yet to get off the mark against the Kangaroos. Thus, the upcoming five-match T20I series starting from August 3 will present a highly probable scenario for the Tigers to rewrite history at their den.
Ashraful, on the contrary, considers the Aussies to remain favourites in the upcoming series but the former Bangladesh captain informed that it will be a great opportunity for the Tigers to clinch their maiden T20I win and even went on to predict the five-match series in the visitors' favour.
"Obviously the win against Australia in Cardiff is still fresh in my mind. Since we don't play much against them, this is probably the reason why we didn't get more wins over the years. If we can play our best against this Aussie side, I think the series could finish 3-2, but still in Australia's favor," Ashraful told The Daily Star.
Despite Australia missing their experienced batsmen in the series -- the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell -- but Ashraful reckons that the Aussie bowling attack is likely to be the biggest threat for the hosts.
"I think their (Australia) bowling attack is top-class with the likes of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in the pace bowling department. So, it will be important that we prepare the pitch which suits us and extract some help from the surface. If we offer a batting friendly track, it won't bring us any advantage but a slower surface might help our batsman in tackling their seamers better," he said.
Bangladesh will be without Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim, two of their most experienced batsmen, while the in-form wicket-keeper batsman Liton Das is also missing from the series.
According to the 37-year-old, to gain momentum with the bat, at least one Bangladesh batsman from the top three needs to bat till the 19th over of the innings.
"Despite the fact that we will be without Tamim and Mushfiqur, I think the two openers -- Soumya Sarkar and Naim Sheikh -- have been in good touch recently and I give them the pass mark. In the middle-order, Mahmudullah can bat at Mushfiqur's position to fill that gap, so I don't see their absence to create a huge impact ultimately," Ashraful added. Ashraful concluded his views by saying how Shakib Al Hasan's rhythm and the consequent impact will be a crucial element from Bangladesh's perspective.