Tigers’ chance to change T20 narrative
Bangladesh are fresh from their impeccable display against Zimbabwe, who the Tigers beat in every format last month to complete a comprehensive series sweep away from home. Even after such a dominant showing across formats, you will find very few who can confidently say that the Tigers have ended their troubles in the game, at least form-wise.
Bangladesh find a low-ranked Zimbabwe every time they need to end their form slump and the Tigers' history only goes on to give the statement more merit.
Before their recent triumph in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh were on an abysmal run of form away from home and in Tests, losing all six of their limited-overs overseas fixtures. That included three ODIs and as many T20Is during their tour of New Zealand in March this year while their last Test win was recorded in February 2020 against Zimbabwe at home.
That Test win against Zimbabwe also ended the Tigers' seven-game losing streak, which included two T20I and two Test losses to India and two T20I and one Test defeat to Pakistan.
So the question is whether the Tigers will be able to buck the inauspicious trend this time around? For Bangladesh, there could not be a better time to prove that statement wrong as they prepare for a five-match T20I series against Australia, starting from August 3.
Although Australia are here without their full-strength squad, that in no way diminishes their might. The absences of T20 experts like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith and Marcus Stoinis may have dented the Aussies' usual batting prowess, but the injury-hit Tigers will still be up against a formidable Australian bowling attack comprising the likes of pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Andrew Tye and leggie Adam Zampa. Right-arm quick Pat Cummins is the only one missing from the regular mix of first-team Aussie bowlers.
Bangladesh, who are missing three of their top batsmen in Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das, will definitely have their work cut out against a group of bowlers who are rich with years of experience in franchise T20 cricket.
How the likes of inexperienced youngsters like Mohammad Naim, Afif Hossain and Shamim Hossain alongside someone like experienced-yet-unsettled Soumya Sarkar handle such a ruthless bowling attack, that too in a format that has always been Bangladesh cricket's weak link, could go a long way to showing what Mahmudullah Riyad's men have in store for the upcoming T20 World Cup, scheduled for later this year in October-November.
Moreover, for a side like Bangladesh, absences of key players could serve as a blessing in disguise as it would give the team management an opportunity to prepare for future adversities and help them form a dynamic squad capable of taking on stiffer challenges.
Another thing that should get the Tigers pumped up to prove a point in the upcoming series is that Australia, who are only on their third ever tour to Bangladesh for a bilateral series, have mostly been reluctant to visit Bangladesh with security concerns being their prime excuse. Although the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) mentioned it is only 'fulfilling a few extra demands' posed by the Australian, in truth the board is having to go a few extra miles to make this series a reality.
Hence, it goes without saying that only an admirable performance from the Tigers can make BCB's extra stride for Australia's 13-day sojourn worthwhile while also making a resounding statement that could have big teams like Australia show more interest in visiting the country in the coming days. It could also prove to the world that Bangladesh's cricketing prowess is not only reserved for low-ranked teams like Zimbabwe.