Bangladesh's squad for their first two ODIs against Zimbabwe saw seven changes from their last ODI series against Sri Lanka. Bangladesh were clean swept 3-0 by the hosts in that series and since then, Bangladesh have only managed to win a handful of international matches. So, it was likely that there will be a bulk of changes and the most noticeable changes are the inclusion of Mohammad Saifuddin, Afif Hossain and Naim Sheikh.
Saifuddin in recent times has been one of Bangladesh's consistent performers in the limited-overs format. He picked up 14 wickets for Bangladesh in the ICC World Cup 2019 and also scored a fifty. But injury kept him out since then. He is back for the series against Zimbabwe.
Afif and Naim, on the other hand, became a regular for the T20Is side in 2019. Afif cemented his place in the side with a match-winning fifty against Zimbabwe at home whereas Naim's place was cemented with an 81-run knock against India.
Putting Bangladesh's recent drubbing in the limited-overs into consideration, changes are likely in the starting lineup. And it is not unlikely for any of these three to get into the XI.
Naim, who was Bangladesh's consistent thread in India, is prepared well for his first ODI series.
"I enjoy playing the limited-overs format. My preparation for the series is very good. If I get an opportunity, I will try to give my 100 per cent," Naim said.
Bangladesh's opening pair failed in Sri Lanka and had a big part to play in the team's failure. In such circumstances, Naim comes into the team with the pressure of performing. But Naim is unfazed by that pressure.
"I enjoy playing under pressure. I don't like it too easy. I talk to the seniors about how to deal with pressure," he said.
For Afif, this is a dream come true moment as he dreamt of playing ODIs since he got his T20 call-up in 2018. The youngster had fared well in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League and is looking forward to doing well in the ODI series against Zimbabwe.
"Since I got a call-up for the T20Is, I was excited to play 50-over cricket. That dream has been fulfilled and now I will try to do something good for the side," the youngster said.
Afif further added, "I will try to do my best if I get an opportunity. I will try to play according to the side's plans."
Saifuddin, who returns from a nagging injury in this series, also hopes to do well. Saifuddin was out for five months but for him, this is not of such pressure and he also is looking forward to doing well.
"I was out with injury but before that, I was also out of the side for eight months for poor performances. I am used to this. I have returned from an injury but it is not anything new for me. These do not put pressure on me. I am looking forward to playing with my 100 per cent," the all-rounder said.
Both Afif and Naim felt lucky to play under Mashrafe Mortaza, whose captaincy is under the cosh, and according to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Nazmul Hassan, it will be decided after a board meeting whether Mashrafe will stay skipper or not.
Amid this chaos, Afif and Naim have the opportunity of securing a place in the ODI eleven and with Mehidy Hasan's performances being below-par, Saifuddin will surely take a shot at retaining the place he had before his injury.
All three players have been considered as the leading faces of Bangladesh cricket in the coming years. And with an under-par Zimbabwe side in front, they will hope to cement their future.