Whatmore: 'Bangladesh are favourites'
Dav Whatmore, Bangladesh's coach, is confident that his side will beat Zimbabwe in the forthcoming five-ODI series which kicks off in Harare on July 29.
"Most people would say that Bangladesh have had much more encouraging performances than Zimbabwe and they have had some problems as you all know. We will be leaving Bangladesh as favourites," Whatmore told reporters in Dhaka. "I think what evens up things a bit is the conditions over there. We need to get adjusted to the condition as quick as possible."
When the sides last met - in January 2005 - Bangladesh came from 2-0 down to win the five-ODI series 3-2. Since then, however, Bangladesh have continued to improve while Zimbabwe's decline has been well documented, and they are now without most of their first-choice players.
That situation has allowed the selectors to include some new faces in the squad, such as Farhad Reza, Saqibul Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for the new ones to make a mark in Bangladesh cricket and do something real good for themselves," he explained. "But first of all they have to get into the XI and if they get into the XI in the next three weeks then they have to put their best foot forward and put pressure on the selectors because there is not too much time left between now and March-April next year."
Habibul Bashar, Bangladesh's captain, was equally confident but was keen not to underplay the Zimbabweans. "We can definitely say that we are going to start as favourites based on the standard we have set over the last year," he explained. "It may not be easy because this Zimbabwe side are probably a bit better than the one we had faced at home but nevertheless we will go there believing that we can win all the matches."
Bangladesh will play a warm-up match against a Zimbabwe A side on July 26, and then all five ODIs will be at Harare Sports Club on July 29 and 30, and August 2, 4 and 6. The side then travels to Nairobi where they will meet Kenya in three more ODIs.