Hathurusingha, Whatmore aim to build settled combinations
Chandika Hathurusingha and Dav Whatmore, the head coaches of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, have said that the four-match T20 series between the two sides will give them a chance to try out new combinations.
With the Asia Cup T20 looming and a World T20 to follow, Bangladesh are keen to identify a settled combination. Zimbabwe, after losing four successive limited-overs series against Afghanistan, will also look to build for the World T20.
"We are looking to win because we are playing international cricket but still we want to get our best combination," Hathurusingha said. "At the same time give the players comfort in their roles, to understand their roles. So that's the main focus. In terms of combinations, we will try to do different ones. We still want to win but we will experiment in terms of combinations."
With Zimbabwe looking to play many more T20s after Bangladesh and before the World T20, Whatmore said that the returning trio of Vusi Sibanda, Brian Vitori, and Sean Williams will get a chance to play.
"We have come here to win. We are also mindful that we have another 10 games before the World T20," Whatmore said. "There will be a portion of looking at different combinations.
"They [Sibanda, Vitori and Williams] will get a chance. Sean is certainly in our best team. The other two boys have got a chance to impress. They will be given their opportunity. No one has come in here just to carry the drinks. So they will all play."
Neither team has a good record in T20 internationals, a discrepancy that needs correction. Bangladesh had lost their last T20, against Zimbabwe in November from a winning position.
Bangladesh's last T20 win against a top side was against Pakistan in April last year. Hathurusingha said that he wanted his players to understand their roles, especially on the batting front.
The return of Shakib Al Hasan and Soumya Sarkar will ease Bangladesh's concerns about building a settled combination. Shakib had gone on paternity leave and missed the last two T20s against Zimbabwe while Sarkar missed both the ODIs and T20s because of a side strain.
"We have a settled line-up in ODI cricket but in T20s I don't think we have our combination or gameplan understood," Hathurusingha said. "It is the biggest challenge, especially in batting. So batsmen have to understand and be comfortable in their roles. Shakib and Soumya are world-class players so they are both in the team."
Whatmore, on other hand, conceded that Zimbabwe had not fielded their best team for quite a while. "Our bowling attack has been a bit inexperienced without [Tinashe] Panyangara," he said. "We haven't been able to keep a settled team. We have had a close look at it. Our best team hasn't been on the pitch in quite a while. We are still looking at other objectives to achieve in this four-match series."
Keeping in view the World T20 and conditions in India, Whatmore also called for flexibility. "I am not sure Indian wickets are going to take too much spin. What I have seen in the IPL are good batting wickets," Whatmore said. "Some of the matches are also under lights so the dew factor will also come into it. I think teams need to be prepared for either medium-pace quick combinations and also have the ability to use spin bowlers without damaging their batting. I think you need to be flexible."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84