Bangladesh are hoping for an out-and-out practice game when they take on the Zimbabwean XI at the Academy Ground in Harare from today.
The three-day game would be an essential exercise ahead of the one-off Test for a team that is out of international cricket for almost four months and out of touch with Test matches for more than a year.
Captain Shakib Al Hasan has said that if the hosts agree, they would like to play all the batsmen and bowlers but even a 12-a-side hit would do his side a favour.
“If we get the chance, we want to get all our batsmen and bowlers in. Otherwise, it would be best if we could get at least twelve in,” said Shakib yesterday.
The Tigers practiced in the afternoon after their marathon flight from the capital took nearly 42 hours including travel hassles that took its toll.
“Rubel [Hossain] was slightly sick yesterday. But it doesn’t look like it is too bad. He has a headache, a bit of jet lag,” he said. “It [one day of training] was a bit of a problem because they didn’t allow us to come here earlier. We can’t do much about it. We talked about it during the stretch that we should forget about it and think about the match.”
Shakib also confirmed that Tamim Iqbal will play the three-dayer though the left-handed opener will have to closely monitor his groin injury.
Stuart Law, the Tigers’ head coach, also said that it wasn’t the greatest way to prepare for a game of cricket but has told his charges to focus on the game.
“They understand they’re here to play cricket. BCB tried to get us in here a couple of days early, but Zimbabwe weren’t too accommodating in that area. Unfortunately for us, we arrived here late last night.
“We haven’t got much time to settle in and we have a 3-day practice game tomorrow. It is not ideal but this is what we’ve got in front of us. We have to be big and that’s what we’ve expressed this morning. Boys will get tired but we have a game starting tomorrow (Friday),” said Law, adding that he doesn’t want anyone to make an excuse for the lack of preparation.
“It’ll give us an indication of how the boys are right now. I think they’ve the fitness base where you can tell them to do something and it’s no problem.
“All we now have to do is get some cricket under the belt but we’ve only got a 3-dayer in front of us. It’s a shame but we have to do what’s in front of us. We have to be up for the game, we can’t use this as an excuse,” he added.
For the hosts, Tatenda Taibu is set to return for his first game since the World Cup.
He had suffered a thumb injury in the interim and missed the matches against Australia A and South Africa A.
Zimbabwe XI: Tatenda Taibu, Vusi Sibanda, Tino Mawoyo, Regin Chakabva, Craig Ervine, Forster Mtizwa, Prosper Utseya, Keegan Meth, Tendai Chatara, Njabulo Ncube, Kyle Jarvis.
Bangladesh (from): Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Shahriar Nafees, Junaed Siddiqui, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Ashraful, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak, Nazmul Hossain, Robiul Islam, Shuvogoto Hom Chowdhury, Nasir Hossain.
-With The Daily Star input