Bangladesh buoyed by return of Taskin as it takes on Afghanistan in first game of three-ODI series
Bangladesh will be hoping its long break from international cricket does not affect its performance when it begins the three-match One-Day International series against Afghanistan in Dhaka on Sunday (September 25).
The home side last played an international match during the ICC World Twenty20 in India in April this year and has played no ODIs since hosting Zimbabwe in November last year.
The Afghanistan series would also give Bangladesh a chance to shake off rustiness ahead of its assignment against England.
The Afghanistan series would also give Bangladesh a chance to shake off rustiness ahead of its assignment against England, who will be visiting the country in October for three ODIs and two Tests.
Chandika Hathurusinghe, the Bangladesh coach, said the team's main focus was to get back to rhythm as soon as possible. "Not playing for a long time is a bit of an Achilles's heel for us,” said Hathurusinghe on Saturday. "That is what we are trying to get over, that uncertainty. The first match is vital for us. We have no concern over any skill part – batting, bowling or fielding.
"It is all about the mental side of the game – getting into the game, playing in front of a crowd for your country."
The home side was buoyed by the return of Taskin Ahmed, the pace bowler who was cleared to bowl in international cricket on Friday after he successfully remodelled his action.
Taskin and Arafat Sunny, the left-arm spinner, were reported for suspect actions after Bangladesh's opening match in the World T20 against the Netherlands in India. While Sunny was made to wait, Bangladesh drafted Taskin immediately in the squad against Afghanistan.
"The quality of Taskin's skill will benefit any team in world cricket," said Hathurusinghe. "He is one of our best bowlers. So he is coming and we are very relieved to have this ban off."
Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, said Taskin's return will help the team overcome the absence of Mustafizur Rahman, who has been sidelined for months after shoulder surgery.
"Frankly speaking, we will miss Fizz," said Mortaza. "But our current attack is similar to what we had in the World Cup last year. This is another chance for us to prove ourselves."
All three matches are taking place at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium, with the second game on September 28 and the finale on October 1.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mosaddek Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Taijul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed.
Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Amir Hamza, Dawlat Zadran, Fareed Ahmad, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Ihsanullah Karim Janat, Mirwais Ashraf, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Najibullah Zadran, Naveen-ul-Haq, Nawroz Mangal, Rahmat Shah, Rashid Khan, Samiullah Shenwari, and Shabir Noori.
Please click here to review the match in full in the ICC Match Centre.