BCB wants to cut a Test from Zimbabwe series
The BCB is in discussion with Zimbabwe Cricket to cut one Test from the bilateral series to be held in January next year. Naimur Rahman, the BCB cricket operations committee chairman, said that the proposed reduction was due to Bangladesh's preparations for the Asia Cup T20 and World T20 tournaments following the Zimbabwe series.
The tour was originally scheduled to have three Tests, five ODIs and three T20s. Now it is likely to have two Tests, three ODIs and three T20s with Zimbabwe landing in Dhaka on January 11, and the tour ending on February 18.
ESPNcricinfo has learned that the Bangladesh team management was consulted before the matter was discussed in a meeting of board directors and officials on Monday. Naimur said the team management wanted to reduce the number of ODIs to two but it will still remain a three-match series. However, it was learned that there has been some consensus between the two boards about the number of ODIs to be reduced to three from five.
Bangladesh's remaining international commitment in 2015 is the two-match Test series against Australia in October. After the Zimbabwe series ends in mid-February, Bangladesh will play in the Asia Cup T20 tournament from March 1 to 10. The following day the team will be off to India for the World T20, which will end on April 3.
Naimur said the BCB is waiting for ZC to give its view on the tour composition, after which it will be placed in the board meeting for approval. "We are still in talks with Zimbabwe. We have proposed to reduce one Test," Naimur said. "They said they will let us know after discussing among themselves. We have to consider the cricketers' rest and recovery, at the same time we are committed to playing ODIs and T20s after the Tests. So we have to prepare accordingly. That's why we are reducing the number of Tests so that we can prepare for T20s."
The concern is also about the fitness levels of Bangladesh's fast bowlers in Tests. "Our frontline pace bowlers are already suffering from injuries. We have to think of their recovery.
"I always want to play. We had more Tests but we also have other commitments. I later saw that it wouldn't be possible to play more Tests realistically."
Naimur insisted that Test cricket remains important for Bangladesh, as they are holding domestic first-class tournaments like the National Cricket League and Bangladesh Cricket League, but they gave priority to T20s this time because the players do not have the physical ability to play an extra Test in a season dominated by T20s.
"Because Tests are important, we are using tournaments like BCL and NCL to prepare players for the longer version. But we also have to think what might happen to a cricketer who plays three Tests, three ODIs and three T20s.
"We know that our cricketers' physical condition hasn't reached that level. We have to think particularly about the pace bowlers."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84