DHAKA: Bangladesh begin a to-and-fro commute to Pakistan on Wednesday for a Test and one-day international series sandwiched between home fixtures — a quirky fixture list prompted by security fears.
They play a first Test in Rawalpindi starting from Friday, but head home immediately afterwards for a series against Zimbabwe.
They then return to Pakistan for the second Test beginning on April 5, after an ODI on April 3.
“It is not ideal. You always want to go there at least seven or eight days before a Test match,” head coach Russell Domingo told reporters in Dhaka on Monday.
Bangladesh wanted to play the series in phases because they want to spend as little time in the country as possible due to safety concerns.
Until late last year, Pakistan had not hosted an international cricket match for nearly a decade after a visiting Sri Lanka side was ambushed by Islamist gunmen in Lahore on their way to play a game.
Domingo said he was happy with the form shown by some of the Bangladesh batsmen in domestic competition this season, but acknowledged conditions would be different away from home.
Tamim Iqbal scored an unbeaten 334 runs on Sunday — the highest first-class innings ever on Bangladesh soil — in a local league game.
Test skipper Mominul Haque and senior batsmen Mahmudullah and Liton Das have also scored recent centuries.
“The wickets that they are playing here don’t have much pace and bounce,” Domingo said. “I am sure Rawalpindi might have some pace and bounce... it is going to be a big challenge for the boys.”
The South African said he had demanded more commitment from his batsmen — especially away from home.
“Some of the boys know that they have to put in some big performances on the back of a poor Test series against India,” he said. “We have to show a bit more commitment with the bat, and find ways to manufacture scores even when the conditions are not good.”
Bangladesh lost all five of their Test matches in 2019, with their last two defeats coming by an innings margin against India in November.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2020