Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes believes the injury to the senior players will open the gates for other players. Thus, it would be a good opportunity for the Tigers to test their bench strength. Bangladesh will be without the services of their talisman all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who is ruled out due to an aggravated finger injury.
Furthermore, the hosts will be without the services of their experienced opener Tamim Iqbal. The southpaw batsman had injured himself in the first match of the Asia Cup. On the other hand, Zimbabwe recently lost both ODI and T20I series against South Africa. Thus, Rhodes expects Zimbabwe to come hard at them like a wounded animal.
Good opportunity to test the bench strength.
“Zimbabwe got a beating in South Africa. No team likes that. I expect a wounded animal,” Rhodes told reporters at Mirpur on Thursday. “They will be fighting for their [pride] and I expect tough opposition.
“They may turn it on against us after the kick-back from South Africa. We are very guarded but we are also very determined to try and play our best cricket,” he added.
Rhodes went on to add it is going to be a good opportunity for other players to grab their chances in the absence of the two big players.
“We know we are two players light. Our process will be to make sure that we do our duty well. We don’t have to worry about the opposition. I see it as a real positive. It is opportunities for other people,” said Rhodes.
“If those guys grab their chance, it would show we have depth in our squad. If there is competition for places, people will always try to perform at their best. It is a healthy thing. We want depth,” he added.
Furthermore, Bangladesh chief coach Steve Rhodes said there are injury concerns over Mashrafe Mortaza. Therefore, they might want to throw the opportunity to Saifuddin.
“Mashrafe has had his injuries. He picked up an injury recently. We need to think about keeping someone ready as his replacement. We want to give Saifuddin some cricket so that he can be prepared. I like his approach and attitude and he looks stronger.”
Bangladesh will like to find like for like replacements for their pivotal players. It is not going to be easy for the young players to straightaway fill in the big shoes. However, the exposure of the topmost stage will help them. The first ODI between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe will take place on 21st October.