Bangladesh’s quest for recognition as a significant world cricket force faces a tough examination on their tour of South Africa, which starts on Thursday (September 21) with a three-day match against an invitation side.
Bangladesh will play two Test matches, three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals on their tour.
They have lost by an innings in all four Tests they have played on two previous tours of South Africa, as well as losing six of seven ODIs and two T20Is against the hosts. The lone exception was an abandoned game on their most recent tour in 2008-09.
The tour itinerary indicates Bangladesh’s relatively lowly status as they will not play at any of South Africa’s major grounds. The Tests are in Potchefstroom and Bloemfontein, which have hosted only one and four Tests respectively. Potchefstroom’s only previous Test, in the 2002-03 season, also involved Bangladesh. The one-day and T20 matches will be at Kimberley, Paarl, East London, Bloemfontein and Potchefstroom, all infrequent international venues.
However, Bangladesh will be buoyed by a solid recent record, despite being without star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for the Tests.
Since Chandika Hathurusingha, the former Sri Lankan batsman, took over as coach in 2014 they have gained some notable results, including Test wins against England, Sri Lanka and Australia. They shared a rain-hit home series against South Africa in 2015.
They have recorded one-day wins against England, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand during Hathurusingha’s tenure, while they beat South Africa 2-1 in a three-match series at home in 2015.
Their away record remains poor, however, despite a Test win against Sri Lanka in Colombo in March, and they will have to adapt quickly to the expected pace-friendly pitches in South Africa.
Bangladesh Test squad: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt, wk), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Sabbir Rahman, Mohammad Mahmudullah, Liton Das (wk), Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Subashis Roy, Mominul Haque.
September 21-23: SA Invitation XI, Benoni
September 28 to October 2: First Test, Potchefstroom
October 6-10: Second Test, Bloemfontein
October 12: SA Invitation XI, Bloemfontein
October 15: First ODI, Kimberley
October 18: Second ODI, Paarl
October 22: Third ODI, East London
October 26: First T20, Bloemfontein
October 29: Second T20, Potchefstroom