The Bangladesh Cricket Board has arranged two extra practice matches for the Under-19 team - against Papa New Guinea on August 1 and South Africa on August 3 - in Australia ahead of the Under-19 World Cup that starts on August 11. The two matches precede the official warm-up games against Scotland and South Africa on August 7 and 8 giving the Bangladesh side a total of four games before the start of the tournament.
"I got a fair idea of the squad from the matches we played against BCB XI recently but the four warm-up matches we play in Australia will be really important," Bangladesh Under-19 coach Sarwar Imran said during the departure press conference in Mirpur on Thursday. "It is being said that I got little time to adjust but I know all these players. Many of them played under me at age-level, club-level or in the Dhaka Premier League. I actually know them quite well."
Imran, who has been the coach of the Bangladesh national team previously, was appointed as the head coach of the Under-19 side after the team made an early exit from the Under-19 Asia Cup recently.
"The team has been preparing for the last two years, so in that sense, the team is well prepared. When I took over, there were some injured pace bowlers but now everyone has recovered."
Bangladesh are in Group D along with South Africa, Sri Lanka and Namibia. "If we want to play the Cup or Plate competitions, we have to beat either or both Sri Lanka and South Africa. Still there will be matters pertaining to net run rate but I think we have the capability to go through," he said.
Wicketkeeper batsman Anamul Haque, who recently represented the Bangladesh senior team during the unofficial Twenty20s in Zimbabwe, has been appointed as the captain for the upcoming tournament. He is one of the four players in the current squad - Noor Hossain, Nurul Hasan and Soumya Sarkar being the other three - who played in the last Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.
"We have some players who have played the previous World Cup. So we hope they bring in that experience and give their hundred per cent," Anamul said. "There won't be any problems if we can train well in Australia and take the four practice matches seriously."
Anamul identified the pace attack, especially after the return of Taskin Ahmed and Abu Jayed, as the team's strength and he expects left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed and leg-spinner Noor Hossain to make an impact. Bangladesh take on Sri Lanka on August 11, South Africa the next day and Namibia on August 16. The team leaves for Australia on July 27.