England’s white-ball skipper Jos Buttler said his team is looking forward to the challenge of facing Bangladesh on their low and slow home wickets in the forthcoming One-Day International series, starting on Wednesday (March 1). England will defend their ODI World Cup title in India later this year and Buttler feels this series will serve as a good preparation for the showpiece event.
"It'll be a great challenge for us. Obviously, Bangladesh are very tough to beat in their home conditions, they beat India as well. So this is exactly the kind of challenge we need, nearing the World Cup, to test ourselves in probably the conditions that we as a side will find the hardest. This can be a great measure of where we are as a team,” said Buttler.
"We're expecting a slow and low wicket, which is exactly what we want, to test ourselves in tough conditions which will be great preparation for us moving forward.
"All our preparation is geared towards that World Cup. These are the conditions that will probably be the closest that we can get to playing in India. We only have these matches, and then we don't play again until September just before the World Cup, so it's a great challenge for us and we're excited for the series."
England will once again be without some of their key players who are currently involved in a Test series in New Zealand, but the presence of tearaway quicks Jofra Archer and Mark Wood will give them some sort of an edge even on these slow surfaces.
“Generally the wicket will be slower, but guys like Jofra and Mark Wood have fantastic airspeed, so someone who can bowl with such pace on these wickets is still a handful. It's not always to the benefit of the batsman. We have a nice variety in the squad. Right-arm, left-arm, high pace, guys who can swing it … we have a nice balanced attack.”
Rehan Ahmed, the 18-year-old legspinner, recently made his Test debut in Pakistan and Buttler feels spending time with someone like Adil Rashid will help him grow even further. "Rehan is a really exciting talent. He's still a very young man, just a teenager, so we're excited about his development and where we think he can go.
"It's great to have him in and around the England set-up. Adil Rashid has been such a star performer for us for a long, long period of time, so getting to spend time with him and discussing bowling and watching each other bowl will be a huge benefit to him, and the biggest stage in his development.
"We're really excited for someone with so much talent, not just with the ball but with the bat as well. So we look forward to watching him develop and hopefully turning himself into a brilliant international cricketer."
England, the world champions in both formats, are the only visitors to win an ODI series in Bangladesh since 2015. England have become a different beast since that debacle in the 2015 World Cup, playing an aggressive brand of cricket all around the world. However, Buttler said they are not all about targeting 400 in each game.
"We always try and be as aggressive as we can. The misconception is that we're aiming for 400 every time, whereas it's more about trying to push the boundaries of what's expected on the day and not settling for par. We'r trying to push the envelope higher. If the maximum that the wicket allows us is 100, can we try and score 100, instead of 80?
"We're just trying to assess the conditions and imprint our game as much as we can. Of course, you have to understand conditions, but we've always been more on the positive side as opposed to the more negative side."
Talking about the transition since that defeat to Bangladesh in the 2015 event, Buttler said: "Even if we'd won that game in 2015, we would have fallen down not far after. Looking back, we were quite a way behind the rest of the teams in the world at that stage. It was very obvious post that World Cup that we had to change the way we played, and try and be at the forefront of where the game was going as opposed to trying to catch up.
"I think we would have got to that point regardless, but obviously losing that match and being knocked out of the World Cup at that stage is absolutely now looked back at as that real turning point for English cricket. But I'm sure we would have been found out not long after, had we managed to get through that game."
The tour will kick off with two ODIs in Dhaka on March 1 and 3, before the third and final encounter will be played in Chittagong on March 6. Three Twenty20 Internationals will follow, the first in Chittagong on March 9 and the others back in the capital on March 12 and 14.
(With inputs from AFP)