- Sep 27, 2014
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Australia (RL), West Ham, NY Giants
From the beautiful cities of Dhaka and Chattogram. Begins 10:30pm AEST tonight.
Zimbabwe are a cricket team in desperate need of context; Bangladesh, one that is aching for a return to normalcy and stability. Bangladesh's first T20I match of the year, against an opponent they have dominated at home in recent years, should give them just the sort of soft landing they need in this tri-series ahead of what will likely be sterner challenges against Afghanistan, who are probably the favourites at this stage.
Hot on the heels of the Test defeat to Afghanistan, further ructions are at play in Bangladesh's cricket system, with the Bangladesh Cricket Board set to take charge of the next edition of the BPL after a fallout with the team owners. Shakib Al Hasan has grown increasingly frustrated in his captaincy tenure, and the T20 World Cup is just a year away. A win over Zimbabwe will go some way towards calming everything down a little bit for Bangladesh.
Zimbabwe, of course, do not have any global tournament on the horizon to look forward to. They are still under suspension, and both the men's and women's sides lost their places at the T20 World Cup Qualifiers as a result. The suspension opened up divisions in their squad that are yet to fully heal.
Zimbabwe enter the series without one of their most accomplished players as Sikandar Raza has been left out for 'disciplinary reasons' - a curious catch-all phrase that is yet to be fully explained. Their head coach, Lalchand Rajput, admitted that Raza will undoubtedly be missed, but he also underscored that Zimbabwe are a team in transition, with their eyes on the future. What that means for Raza's future remains to be seen. And with only three members of the squad aged 25 or under, and nine aged 30 or above, Zimbabwe do not appear to be in a huge rush to usher in a new era.
And first, they will say goodbye to the past. This series will be Hamilton Masakadza's last in national colours. A long-time servant of the game, Masakadza has struggled a little of late, amid tumultuous times, and will be desperate for his last games as captain to be happy ones. So, surely, will Shakib.