Bangladesh have to get their act right and fast with the three-match ODI series against hosts Sri Lanka set to begin on Friday in Colombo.
Four players from the Bangladesh A team - Anamul Haque, Mohammad Mithun, Sabbir Rahman and Farhad Reza - have joined the rest of the national team for training and preparation ahead of the first ODI.
It has been a disappointing month so far for Bangladesh as they lost their last two World Cup group stage games against India and Pakistan, subsequently crashing out, while the A team has also been dominated by the Afghanistan A team at home.
On the backdrop, there has been plenty of chaos with former head coach Steve Rhodes being sacked and Khaled Mahmud Sujan taking over the role on a temporary basis for the second time.
Add to that regular ODI captain, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, who struggled with his bowling in the World Cup has also been ruled out after picking up a grade one hamstring tear during training and Tamim Iqbal will get an opportunity to lead the team.
The right-arm medium-fast bowler was already playing the World Cup with a suspected hamstring tear and that had to affect his performances.
This tour to Sri Lanka, which was organised in this month during the World Cup was seen as a way of giving Mashrafe a farewell tour, given his recent bowling form and his entry into politics last year.
This now opens up an opportunity for Tamim Iqbal, who also had a poor World Cup, to get back on track with the bat and also show his captaincy credentials as the Tigers may look to prepare for life after Mashrafe.
With Shakib Al Hasan and Liton Das also skipping the tour due to personal reasons and Mohammad Saifuddin out injured, it will be an important tour for the players that did not get selected for the World Cup to display their abilities as well including off-spinner Taijul Islam, who was the highest wicket taker for Bangladesh in Tests last year.
“I can never be seen as a replacement for Shakib bhai. He is an all-rounder and one of the top all-rounders in world cricket,” said Taijul to the media in the sidelines of Bangladesh’s first practice session at R Premadasa Stadium Sunday.
“If given the opportunity in the playing XI, I have clear intention of delivering the best for the team on the day and of course try to cover the absence that the team has (for not having Shakib bhai),” the left-arm spinner added.
Bangladesh have been doing well against Sri Lanka in recent times and with talk of currently Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusinghe once again being made the next Bangladesh head coach, after he left the job on a sour note a few years ago, will add further fuel to the fire in this growing cricketing rivalry.
“We as a team are mentally strong and looking forward to the series. We cannot be seen lightly compared to the strength to that of Sri Lanka. A good team on the day will have the result going for them. Hope the bunch we have here will get to their best and bag some positive results,” said Taijul.
“The team seem to be very active now and players are helping each other out in order to prepare for the series. We are looking forward to a good series ahead,” Taijul concluded.