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Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
October 28, 2013
The opening ODI in Mirpur will be their first meeting in limited-overs cricket since then and Mushfiqur said that just like South Africa always have the "C" word at the back of their minds, New Zealand, who have seven survivors from that tour, will be wary of that debacle from three years ago.
"It will have an influence," Mushfiqur said. "We are playing them (New Zealand) after three years, but it will be in their minds. They lost to us in our last series, and that too by a big margin. South Africa are such a big team but before every big game they are reminded of being chokers.
"A lot of things have changed in the last three years. Both our sides have changes in personnel and combination," he said. "We have more matured players. We have a big challenge ahead of us, so there's no point looking back."
In addition to the recent head-to-head advantage, Mushfiqur will also bank on his team that has a growing number of match-winners - Shakib Al Hasan was the Man of the Series in 2010, Tamim Iqbal showed great character in the second Test in Mirpur, while Mominul Haque and Sohag Gazi have been on a record-breaking sprees.
"We had a lot to gain as a team and individually from the Test series against New Zealand. We are confident, and we are a team that must be respected in our conditions," Mushfiqur said. "It won't be easy to beat them but it won't be impossible either. If we play to the best of our ability, we can beat them."
Spin is Bangladesh's main advantage, but Mushfiqur is wary of the impact dew might have during day-night matches in Bangladesh, particularly during this time of the year, and he is not shy of making necessary changes to the playing XI. They had one practice session under lights and found considerable dew coating the outfield from 7.30pm onwards.
"Dew can be a major factor, like it was against West Indies last year. We have plenty of spinners in the side but we don't want to end up bowling with a wet ball," he said. "We have options in our squad, and we may call up a three-man seam attack if we think dew will be too significant. As a result, the toss will be vital."
However, should they go in with two spinners and seamers each, Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque are expected to open the innings with Mominul Haque slotting in at No. 3. Mushfiqur, Shakib and Nasir could come up the order to fit Mahmudullah at No 7. Mominul, though, is suffering from high fever and should he not recover in time, Naeem Islam could be drafted in. Shakib, who skipped training, and Mushfiqur too are under the weather.
Mushfiqur has confirmed that Mashrafe Mortaza will be in the team. The Bangladesh seamer is set to make a comeback after almost a year, having last played the ODIs against West Indies. "Mashrafe bhai is an asset for any team," he said. "We are happy that he is fit, and I hope he gives his best tomorrow". He will partner Rubel Hossain while Sohag Gazi and Abdur Razzak will bolster Shakib in the spin department.
Mahmudullah, who is Bangladesh's vice-captain, is expected to take the field for the first match as well, given his recent form - three fifties in his last 10 matches - in ODI cricket. "It will be easier for me if he [Mahmudullah] is in the ODI team. Naeem bhai too has worked hard, while not being picked in the Test series. They are waiting for a chance," he said.
Bangladesh are nursing the effects of a 1-2 loss to Zimbabwe in May. They struggled to cope with conditions in Bulawayo and were not helped by their luck with the toss either. Though they have home advantage, given the amount of dew, a battle against the conditions is on the cards again.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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