It was almost a fresh start for Sabbir Rahman after the hard-hitting batsman was included in the Bangladesh ODI side a month before his six-month ban from international cricket concluded.
The cricketer has started growing in confidence, something that he was worried he would lack ahead of the three-match ODI series starting against New Zealand at McLean Park tomorrow.
The 27-year-old scored 40 off 41 balls in the practice game against a New Zealand XI on Sunday to help Bangladesh post 247 before the visitors went down by two wickets.
"I played some good knocks in the BPL and also scored 40 runs in the practice game here. So I am getting confidence and I was scared before playing the first few games about whether or not I would be able to gain confidence. But now I am feeling better and confident. As I played in an international environment in the BPL, it helped me a lot," Sabbir said at the team hotel in Napier yesterday.
Bangladesh have never won any international game in New Zealand and according to Sabbir, the Tigers will be eyeing a winning start to the series and even look to win the ODI series.
"Obviously the first match of a series is always important. If we are able to win the first game we will be mentally ahead and then we will look to win the series. If we can play the way we have been playing both at home and away over the past three years, it will be a good tour for us," he said.
Conditions in New Zealand have always been a challenge for any visiting side but Sabbir believes they are quite similar to Bangladesh and he expected that the Tigers would be able to adapt and give their best.
However, he admitted that losing Shakib Al Hasan to a finger injury at the last moment would certainly hurt them during the crucial tour.
"Obviously it's a huge challenge as he is an all-rounder and also the most experienced and most crucial member of the side. At the same time, he is also our best spinner so it has a great effect on our team and no one will be able to take his place, but we will try to cover that [loss] as a team," Sabbir added.
Bangladesh will begin their first training session at the Anderson Park in Napier today.