Dharamsala's unique conditions a challenge - Mashrafe
Bangladesh's last tour of India was for the Champions Trophy in 2006. Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, is just one of two surviving members - Shakib Al Hasan being the other - from that side.
If Bangladesh were playing in any other part of India, where conditions were similar to their own, it wouldn't come up as an issue. But Dharamsala has an elevation of approximately 4780 feet above sea level, which would make the conditions on offer a unique challenge for them.
And to get accustomed, Bangladesh gave themselves one full day -Tuesday - when they held their only training session at the HPCA stadium after arriving in the country late on Monday, immediately after the Asia Cup final in Mirpur on Monday. There were plans to send the team to Dharamsala late in January for a short camp to get an idea of what to expect, but that was called off because of the harsh Dharamsala winter at the time.
Mashrafe said while they had to get used to breathing in high altitude, apart from adjusting to the cold of the receding North Indian winter, in stark contrast to the warmer climes of Dhaka, they were only focused on the controllables after a creditable showing in the Asia Cup, where they beat UAE, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, on their way to being runners-up to India.
"Indian conditions are mostly similar [to Bangladesh] but there is a difference here," Mashrafe said. "You need to adjust to the breathing also. We needed time to adjust. It is cold at night and we have to play two matches at night [on March 11 and 13]. We will have to play at our best. We haven't had too many chances of playing in India, that is true. There cannot be any excuses. Expect one or two guys, all are new to conditions in India but we are hopeful of doing our best."
While Netherlands have had time to suss up the conditions, having spent a week in Dharamsala, Bangladesh would be banking on their recent form to carry them through. "I think it's has been great achievement as far as T20 is concerned," he said. "We are growing up as a team. We did a good job in T20s last week. We have more challenges coming up."