Nasir Hossain plays down expectations
Bangladesh batsman Nasir Hossain has said the team will have to handle the weight of expectations on them in Zimbabwe, their closest rivals in Test cricket, and played down the lack of training at home ahead of the tour. Bangladesh leave for Zimbabwe on Wednesday, about a week after returning from Sri Lanka on April 2.
"When we play a team like Zimbabwe, we always have that pressure of trying not to lose," Nasir said. "If we can overcome that pressure than we will be able to play normal cricket. When we play against a big team there is nothing to lose for us and we can play 100% without any pressure."
"I think Zimbabwe is a very difficult opponent in their own backyard. They are well prepared to give us a hard time, but we are confident we can beat them."
Nasir recently scored his maiden Test hundred and had a fruitful tour of Sri Lanka, which included a match-winning innings in the third ODI and a half-century in the first game of the series. Like many in the team, he has been playing constantly since the start of the domestic season in October. As a result, he doesn't think a few days of practice ahead of the departure for Zimbabwe would have made any difference.
"We just had a tour of one month so we are not [out] of practice. In Zimbabwe we will get a few days before the start of the series and that would help us to recover.
"It is due to the prevailing condition in the country as we opted for safety first. Even if we had done it [trained], it would not have been anything more than two days and I don't feel that we could have made a huge difference in this short span of time."
Nasir was in the Test squad when Bangladesh last played against Zimbabwe, but he didn't get a game. He made his international debut in the one-day series there, and has established his position as a middle-order batsman. He will again be expected to play a key role in the Test series, as he had done in Sri Lanka when the team was without some big names.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here