Bangladesh are looking for their first-ever T20I series win against Australia, but they won't resort to big turners in order to achieve this. Head coach Russell Domingo said as much ahead of the upcoming five-match assignment in Dhaka, pointing out that it's important to "play on good wickets" in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
"Obviously, winning is always important," Domingo said. "It's a great opportunity for us to try and win a series against Australia; it will do wonders for our confidence. We also want to try and find our best combination [for the T20 World Cup], and playing against Australia will give us that opportunity."
"Bangladesh don't play against Australia that often, so this is a big series for us and we're determined to do well in it."
The two teams have only ever faced each other four times in T20Is, with Australia commanding a 4-0 lead in the head-to-head. The only occasion when Bangladesh hosted Australia in the shortest format, prior to this series that kicks off on August 3, was in April 2014.
Surfaces in Bangladesh, regardless of the format, have traditionally been spin-friendly and the presence of wristspinner Adam Zampa and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar make Australia's spin attack a formidable threat even in overseas conditions. Domingo, however, said the Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch would not overwhelmingly favour spin, instead offering the type of challenge the hosts need to fine-tune for the T20 World Cup.
"We want to play on good wickets because that's what you're going to be facing when playing World Cups away from home," Domingo said. "So, I don't expect the wicket to be a major factor in the series. I don't think it's going to spin that much.
"It looks like a pretty good surface at the moment and there's been quite a lot of rain around Dhaka at the moment, so there's obviously a little bit of moisture in the surface.
"We're just going to get a pretty good T20 wicket, a traditional Dhaka wicket, I suppose. Probably, later on [it might spin more] because we're playing so many back-to-back games, but we can't preempt it. [That said] nobody knows what the wicket is going to be like until we start playing on it."
Bangladesh were without any major injury concerns two days out from the series opener. Domingo said: "Soumya Sarkar is recovering from a mild strain that happened in Zimbabwe; we're very confident he'll be fit."
"We've thought long and hard about this. Obviously, Shakib is there and he will move into that opening spot. We'll also get Mohammad Mithun back. I know he is a middle-order bat but in this format, he can do the job as an opener should one of the openers get injured."
"[Shakib is going to be] Very important," Domingo added. "Like I said, he's a very difficult player to place because he bats in the top order and bowls ten overs in 50-over cricket, so he's going to be massively important for us. He's been bowling really well. He's confident with his bowling at the moment, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how he shapes up against the Australian top order.
"We know they've got a few right-handers in the mix, which could work in our favour as well."
Weighing in on senior player Mushfiqur Rahim's enforced absence from the series, a direct result of the Covid-19 protocols demanded by Cricket Australia, Domingo echoed the overriding sentiment in the Bangladesh camp.
"I can't understand the stringent rules Australia have placed on Mushfiq's bubble," Domingo said. "Ten days [on re-entering the bubble after visiting family] surely would have been enough, so [it's] very disappointing the way they went about it.
"But, look, we want to play against some of the best teams in the world. It's a great opportunity for one or two of the younger players, or fringe players, to play and show what they're capable of. We know Mushfiq's absence is a big loss for us but we've got a biggish squad and some quality players, so it's a great opportunity for them."
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha