Bangladesh hope to secure their first-ever win on New Zealand soil against the injury-hit Black Caps after returning to the country for the first time since they narrowly avoided the 2019 Christchurch mosques massacre.
The tourists will play a three-match One-Day international series against New Zealand opening in Dunedin on Saturday after completing two weeks of Covid-19 quarantine after arriving.
They have previously played 27 matches across all formats in New Zealand and lost them all, a record coach Russell Domingo said offered his side a chance to create history.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to do something that no Bangladeshi side has done before – we’re all excited by it,” he said.
It is an emotional return to New Zealand for some of the Bangladesh squad, whose previous tour in March 2019 was cancelled after a white supremacist terrorist killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two Christchurch mosques.
The squad were en route to one of the mosques when the atrocity occurred and would have been caught up in the attack had their team bus departed just a few minutes earlier.
Captain Tamim Iqbal said it had been a traumatic experience but had not discouraged him from returning to New Zealand.
Iqbal said he did not want to dwell on the attack, which resulted in gunman Brenton Tarrant being jailed for life without parole last year, the first time New Zealand has imposed such a sentence.
“We just have to respect that thing, respect the families, who have lost their own, and just pray that God makes it easy for them. That’s it,” he said.
“I really don’t want to go into that thing because it’s not a nice feeling to have.”
Williamson, Taylor out
Bangladesh are ranked ninth in the world in one-dayers, while hosts New Zealand go into the series as favourites ranked third.
But the Black Caps have not played a one-day match for more than a year, while Bangladesh are fresh from a 3-0 series sweep over the West Indies in January.
New Zealand are also without skipper Kane Williamson and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme, sidelined for the series with elbow and ankle injuries respectively.
Batsman Ross Taylor will miss the first match in Dunedin with a hamstring tear, making it the first New Zealand one-day side since 2014 not to feature either Williamson or Taylor.
“It is a bit of a boost for us, not having them in the first game in particular,” Domingo said.
“But we know that new players are always keen to establish themselves, so they will be highly motivated to do well.”
The in-form duo of Devon Conway and Will Young are set to make their ODI debuts for New Zealand in the absence of Williamson and Taylor.
Black Caps coach Gary Stead believes his side has the depth to cover the missing veterans and would use the series to blood new talent ahead of the 2023 World Cup in India.
“It’s exciting as coach when you sit round the selection table and start looking at the names you expect to keep coming through the way they are developing,” he said.
New Zealand: Tom Latham (capt), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Will Young.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal (capt), Mosaddek Hossain, Najmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mahmudullah Riyad, Afif Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Naim Sheikh, Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Hasan Mahmud, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rubel Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed.