Tamim Iqbal said Bangladesh want to play more on batting-friendly surfaces to prepare themselves for this year’s 50-over World Cup in India. The Bangladesh skipper said that the three-match ODI series against England, starting from March 1, was scheduled to be played in Dhaka but the final game has now been shifted to Chattogram.
The Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka is known to be a heaven for spinners, while the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram is slightly more supportive to the batters. In Dhaka since 2020, the batters have scored runs at an average of 24.8 and a scoring rate of 4.6, while the corresponding numbers in Chattogram are 31.3 and 5.3 respectively.
"We have been discussing about playing better on true wickets. You will see a reflection of our thinking, starting from this series when we shifted the third ODI to Chattogram instead of playing all the matches in Dhaka,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Tamim as saying.
“It is a step forward. We are expecting mostly batting-friendly wickets in the World Cup. But we must remember that while trying to make these changes, we cannot be result-oriented. We have to tolerate losing. We have to be open for both results in the short-term, but in two or three months, we will get results."
Bangladesh recently played a couple of ODIs against India in Dhaka and both teams found it tough to score runs. “Both teams had a top-order issue during the India series. It was difficult for both teams against the new ball in Dhaka. The middle orders did well against the older ball. We are talking about it as a group, how we can minimise the issue. We have to avoid putting the lower-middle order under too much pressure."
The 33-year-old, however, is once again expecting Mehidy Hasan Miraz to come good. The spin-bowling all-rounder is averaging 66 with the bat since 2022 and also has 24 wickets in his last 15 ODIs. Against India, it was Mehidy who played a couple of stunning knocks to help Bangladesh emerge victorious.
"He makes the life of a captain much easier to make the XI. Shakib was the only genuine allrounder in the team, but now we consider Miraz in the same bracket. We can add an extra bowler, as we can count Miraz as a batter the way he is playing. It is a blessing for us, the way he has performed. He has incredible talent and self-belief. You can have incredible talent, but without incredible self-belief, you cannot win those matches. He has both."
Talking about his relationship with Test captain Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim said: “The important thing is when Shakib and I put on the Bangladesh jersey, we are giving our best. And if we are helping each other when we are leading the teams, nothing else matters.
"Whatever anyone is saying, whether we have coffee together or not, these things don't matter. I can assure you that I always get his help as an ODI captain, and I am always there if needs any suggestions in the Test team. When we bat together, or when we are celebrating his wicket, it's absolutely normal."
Shakib is part of the ODI squad that will take on England but the all-rounder hasn’t been practicing with the set-up as he is in the USA for family reasons. "It is definitely important for the whole squad to be together. But I have said it before that family is the most important thing. Family is above everything else."
Tamim himself hasn’t played international cricket since August 2022. "I can take the best preparation, train as hard as I can. We will see the end result in the game. I thought I had a decent BPL, but that's in the past. This is a new challenge. I am getting prepared to the best of my ability. If I score, brilliant, if I don't, I will keep working hard."