Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik
Bangladesh have never won any international match against Kiwis in New Zealand but the Englishman believed they are pumped up by beating West Indies in two back-to-back series’ and ready to give their all in the three-match series that starts at Napier on Wednesday
Bangladesh cricket team coach Steve Rhodes thinks their one-day international series against New Zealand is a tough assignment but the hosts need to play well in order to be victorious.
Bangladesh have never won any international match against Kiwis in New Zealand but the Englishman believed they are pumped up by beating West Indies in two back-to-back series’ and ready to give their all in the three-match series that starts at Napier on Wednesday.
“It is a big task [to win in New Zealand] but it doesn’t mean we can’t win. We have beaten the West Indies a couple of times. We should take a lot of heart from those wins. We know it is going to be difficult in New Zealand but we like being the underdog. I think New Zealand know they have to play very good cricket to beat us,” said Rhodes ahead of the match in New Zealand yesterday.
But the visitors faced a big blow as their premier all-rounder Shakib al Hasan has been ruled out from the series due to an injury that he received during the final match of the Bangladesh Premier League week.
“Big blow to us, there aren’t many Shakib al Hasans around,” said the coach.
With the loss of Shakib Bangladesh coach was hoping some other players will rise to the occasion and he thought pacer Mustafizur Rahman has the ability to do so as he is one of the best bowlers around in the shorter formats.
“I think in any white-ball cricket, you want him in your side. He is ranked in the top five in ODIs. Certainly, he is a good performer when the pressure is on in the end of the innings. It is a key factor for playing against any team,” said Rhodes.
Bangladesh will not only miss Shakib’s bowling but also his batting that saw him scoring a double century in a Test match in the Tigers’ last tour of New Zealand.
But in ODIs, they will perhaps recall his special innings and the outstanding partnership with Mahmudullah in the Champions Trophy at England that navigated Bangladesh to a victory against New Zealand from a precarious position and took them to the semifinal of the tournament.
In that game, man-of-the-match Shakib made 114 en route to building an epic 224-run stand and though he will be missed, Rhodes thinks the memory will help this time around.
“A lot of them will bring back the [Champions Trophy] memory, and I am sure the New Zealanders do too. We have a vastly experienced squad now, which you need in a big tournament and also coming to New Zealand. It is the second or third time for a few of them,” said Rhodes.
Although the series is the main focus for the Tigers, Rhodes said they will also keep an eye on the team combination for the World Cup that will be staged in England from June this year.
“We would like to win this series, but also I’d like to find out about some of our batters and bowlers. Regarding the World Cup, I think the selectors would like to see some of the players cement their place,” said the coach.
New Zealand have been beaten by India, another sub-continent side, recently at home in an ODI series and Rhodes thought that will make them even more determined when they face Bangladesh.
“India are a tough side, and seems to be able to bring in replacements, give people rest and still be a competitive side. I think the T20 win by New Zealand was a good effort. But they lost the ODIs 4-1 so I think they will use those bruises to possibly bounce back. We have to be ready for a tough New Zealand turning up,” concluded the coach.