The series that was doubtful is finally upon us; Bangladesh makes a return to Harare for the first time since 2013.
In this pandemic so many things are affected, and when the Covid-19 cases recently spiked in Zimbabwe, the One-Test, three ODIs and three T20I series seemed uncertain.
But all is set, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh face-off in the Test tomorrow (Wednesday) in a bio-secure bubble at Harare Sports Club. Bubbles are the new norm.
For the Tigers, mauling the Chevrons has sort of become the norm based on previous meetings. So the visitors would love to continue on that vein tomorrow.
The last meeting was in 2020 and Bangladesh eased to an innings and 106 runs win at their home.
In total the two teams have played 17 matches and each side has won seven games and three have ended as draws.
Zimbabwe will take confidence from their home record against their opponents, particularly that 2013 series. The two Test series ended as a draw and Brendan Taylor was the star of the first match with twin centuries. Mushfiqur Rahim was man-of the match for the second match, with some innings.
New heroes will be born in this one-off Test and for Zimbabwe, who are missing some key players, avoiding defeat will be a good effort.
Captain Sean Williams and his close mate Craig Ervine are in isolation after coming into close contact with Covid-19 affected family members.
Openers Kevin Kasuza and Prince Masvaure are unavailable due to a thumb fracture and club cricket commitments in the UK respectively.
This could see Takudzwanashe Kaitano earning his cap as an opener and young Milton Shumba could move up the order.
Zimbabwe’s pace attack is healthy and ready with Blessing Muzarabani set to lead the seamers.
Tendai Chatara is expected to make a comeback while the selectors will choose between Richard Ngarava and Victor Nyauchi. Donald Tiripano is the all-rounder.
For Bangladesh the return of all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is a big boost, moreso because of his experience and good record against Zimbabwe. Al Hasan missed Bangladesh’s home series against West Indies due to a left thigh injury and he opted out of the Sri Lanka Tests to play in the IPL.
What they said:
“”They have improved massively in the last 18 months in their understanding of fast bowling, skillset and endurance. I don’t think that day is too far away when a fast bowler wins Bangladesh a Test match in tough conditions.”– Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo
“It is going to be a lot more competitive, especially in our home conditions. We know our conditions quite well. It is always a big challenge playing in their backyard. Hopefully we have tailored the conditions to suit us. We have a young vibrant team, and we are excited to get going.” – Zimbabwe stand-in captain Brendan Taylor.