Bangladesh cannot afford to do anything different and should stick to their basics in the first of the three ODIs against Sri Lanka starting Sunday in Dhaka, according to the team's head coach Russell Domingo. The home side has lost nine of their last ten international matches including a 3-0 loss to New Zealand in March. Domingo hopes they can turn the tables around this time.
"We want to get the basics right as a team," Domingo said a day before the opening ODI. "If we can do that, then we can experiment one or two things. We haven't done that in the last couple of games. We did play well against the West Indies at home. With the team low on confidence, there's no need to do anything fancy and complicate things."
Domingo, however, warned Bangladesh to not look into Sri Lanka's lack of experience after the visitors dropped Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne for the ODIs. Thisara Perera retired from international cricket earlier this month, but Domingo said that the likes of Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis, the newly-appointed captain and vice-captain respectively, will be eager to prove their mettle.
"I think these are two evenly matched sides. I suppose with the home advantage being quite a big factor in international cricket, we always start as favourites, but we cannot underestimate Sri Lanka," he said. "They have some seriously good players who will be keen to prove a point.
"There's no Chandimal and Mathews. We have a more experienced batting line-up. But we also know that they have some quality players in Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis, who will be trying to play an aggressive brand of cricket with a young team. Our top order got good batting time (in practice matches) and preparation this week. I am looking forward to how the two batting line-ups match-up in the next week."
"This is an important series and points are up for grabs. But we also got to have one eye on the future."Domingo on grooming young players
Though this series is considered a must-win for Bangladesh with regards to the qualification for the 2023 World Cup, Domingo said the focus is also on grooming younger players who can play impactful innings. The team depends heavily on the senior players for results and the coach feel it's time the youngsters are given more opportunities and step up to the challenge.
"We have a bunch of experienced players in Mushfiqur (Rahim), (Mahmudullah) Riyad, Tamim (Iqbal) and Shakib (Al Hasan). But it is always important to give opportunities to younger players," he said. "Those senior players won't be around forever. We have to make sure that we develop some other players who can step into their boots. Hopefully, a guy like Afif (Hossain) can come into the series this time and make an impact.
"It is tricky. It is a balancing act. This is an important series and points are up for grabs. But we also got to have one eye on the future. Sometimes, you need to be a little bit aware of that, and not always just focus on the past. The development of the team, going forward, is equally important."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84