Bangladesh's last New Zealand sojourn was a tragic and shocking experience as they survived the horrific Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019. This time around, the Tigers will travel to New Zealand faced with the challenge of touring abroad for the first time since the pandemic.
A 35-member Bangladesh contingent is scheduled to land in Christchurch today with the primary target of winning their first international game in the country. However, expectations of the Tigers are low due to a lack of preparations ahead of the tough tour.
Bangladesh are scheduled to play three ODIs, starting from March 20 in Dunedin. The next two games are scheduled for March 23 and 26 in Christchurch and Wellington respectively.
The visitors will then take part in the first T20I on March 28 in Hamilton before the second and third T20Is are played in Napier and Auckland on March 30 and April 1.
Although Bangladesh won the three-match ODI series against the West Indies at home, totally different conditions will be awaiting the visitors, who have often been tested in the past by seaming and windy conditions that favour the home pacers. However, Bangladesh are expected to conduct a five-day training camp in Queenstown before the start of the series.
After conducting three rounds of coronavirus testing before boarding the flight, the Tigers will undergo another test upon landing in New Zealand before starting a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the Lincoln University Performance Centre outside Christchurch. All members of the team will have to stay in their hotel rooms for the first seven days and will be allowed to use the gym and also train together in the sports complex for the next seven days.
Bangladesh are yet to get a win in 26 international games in New Zealand, but ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal was hopeful of making history this time around. "Obviously, conditions in New Zealand have always been difficult for us, but it's nothing impossible. What we never achieved in New Zealand in the past… we will try to change the record this time around. We are hopeful," Tamim said before boarding the flight for New Zealand yesterday.
Bangladesh will surely miss star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who took a leave from the tour to stay beside his family for the birth of his third child.