Tigers leave for NZ today
Bangladesh's preparatory camp in Sydney was concluded with a rest day yesterday. They now will leave for Auckland today morning at 10am Australian time and officially begin their tour of New Zealand.
Upon reaching Auckland they will have to take a two-and-a-half hour long bus ride to Whangarei, the city that is to host Bangladesh's only practice match -- a 50-over match against a New Zealand XI at the Cobham Oval on Thursday -- prior to the start of the ODI series on December 26.
According to chief selector Minhajul Abedin, who has been in touch with team management, the camp in Sydney helped the players get in the right frame of mind ahead of the New Zealand tour. Bangladesh played two T20s against the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder. And while they beat the former team, they lost to Sydney Thunder.
A number of Bangladesh's main players were rested during the practice games. For instance, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal didn't feature in either of the practice matches. While Mahmudullah Riyad and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza didn't play in the second game and as a result the team was led by Mushfiqur Rahim.
“The wickets in both those matches were really good for batting and it gave our players a good chance to adjust to conditions there. It's not as windy in Australia as it is in New Zealand, but they did get a feel of things and know what to expect against the Kiwis,” Minhajul told The Daily Star yesterday.
According to Minhajul, none of the players in the 22-member preliminary squad will return to Bangladesh before the start of the T20Is on January 3. The selectors however, are expected to announce the ODI squad on December 21.
One of the main concerns in the Bangladeshi camp is in regards to Mustafizur Rahman. The pacer who is recovering from a shoulder surgery has been bowling at nearly full intensity, however, it is still not certain as to whether he will feature for Bangladesh right from the start of the ODIs.
“It's too early to make a call on Mustafizur. We will keep observing him. However, there is a chance that he may not play the first ODI,” said Minhajul, adding that the left-armer won't be playing in the only practice match as well.
Bangladesh will be playing three ODIs, three T20Is and two Tests in their month-long New Zealand tour.