A special Qantas plane chartered purposefully for flight to Dhaka transported Australian Cricket team from Caribbean Island last afternoon. Bangladesh is in the grip of their worst ever CORONA infection.The rate of infection and death are climbing peak. Very intensive bio bubble security protocols are put into place for the 5 matches T20 International series . Bangladesh cricket team also returned from its successful tour of Zimbabwe yesterday and moved straight into the same hotel where team Australia would be staying for three days quarantine. The teams would go through three days strict quarantine before getting opportunities for practice in the venue .The series starts on 3rd August. In such a difficult situation all have to comply with strict protocol for ensuring that nothing happens till Australian team leave after completing the series successfully. Playing 5 matches in 7 days would take the hell out of the players as they must have already fatigued from playing series against respective opponents and also observing bio security protocols of almost same intensity.
Australia is 5th in ICC T20 ranking while Bangladesh is 10th. But both team would be without some key players. Australian squad is without David Warner, Steve Smith, Glen Maxwell ,Aaron Flinch and Pat Cummins. Bangladesh does not have Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton K Das . There are some concerns about fitness of Mustafiz, Shakib Al Hasan and Soumya Sarkar. These teams have played only 4 T20 Internationals so far .All were won comfortably by Australia . The teams would take the series as ideal platform for judging some fringe players for the upcoming T20 World Cup scheduled to be held at UAE and Oman in October, November 2021. Australia features among top eight. Bangladesh has to play in the qualifying round at Oman against Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman.
Australia is a dye heart professional unit, super fit athletes . Playing 5 matches over 7 days may not be an issue for them as this squad plays Bigbash T20 at home and T20 franchise all across the cricket world. For Bangladeshis not used to playing too much international cricket may find it challenging.
This Australian squad possess very strong bowling unit. Mitchel Starc and Josh Hazelwood along with Jeson Behendorff ,Wes Ager ,Mitch Marsh , Adam Zampa and Aston Ager would tease depleted Bangladesh on any wicket presented at Sher-e –Bangla National Stadium (SBNCS) . Starc and Hazzlewood are among the best of the best of best at the moment. Adam Zampa and Mitch Swepson are leg spinners, Aston Ager and Aston Turner are orthodox spinners . So as far as bowling resources are concerned this squad is world standard. Like any Australian team they field well. One may say that this team was hammered 4-1 series defeat by West Indies. But that can not be any yardstick for judging their performance against Bangladesh. West Indies is current holders of T20 World Cup. They have so many power hitters. Each of them are match winners. After few years they have assembled all. The 4-1 margin also do not accurately reflect the intensity of contest of the series .
Australians lack quality and depth in batting. Apart from Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey .Moises Henrque and Mathew Wade the rest may not feature in the main team. This is where Bangladesh should try to exploit. But before even considering that Bangladesh needs to bat out of their skins and put up competitive score against very strong Australian attack. Top order has to sustain fearsome Australian new ball attack.
Naim and Soumya have to deal with Starc and Hazzlewood early spell. Bangladesh struggled against Muzarabani. This Aussie team has three tall bowlers capable of unleashing at 140 KM plus . They bowl deadly toe crushing Yorkers . Hope back in his best Shakib would be in his element and captain Mahmudullah would shoulder greater responsibility. Given the requirement of agreed quarantine and injury situation Bangladesh could have included few fringe players entering Bio Bubble as we do not think Mithun and Mosaddeq would be right choice. With very lean batting resources Bangladesh may suffer if for likely reasons more players get injured during the course of the series. Mominul Shanto, Towhid Hridoy, Al Amin, Shafiul could be considered.
Anyway what not done can only be the cause of frustration? We have to look forward for a competitive series. Bangladesh can truly judge where they stand? Whether Naim, Soumya, Sohan, Afif, Shamim, Shoriful, Saifuddin, Taskin can redeem The Australian batting struggled against spin of Akeal Hossain and Hayden Walsh. Bangladesh should try to exploit.
Bangladesh can take heart from the Way Hasharanga has pummeled India last night.
Bangladesh Cricket admirers should be carefully optimistic. Against Australia creating competition would be enough. Lot can be gained reaming positive and playing fearless cricket with aggressive intensions. Kangaroos can be ruthless if they get a little sniff. Shakib, Mahmudullah, Mustafiz are the keys. Looking towards Soumya, Afif, Sohan and Shamim as well.
BDST: 1444 HRS, JUL 30, 2021