Bangladesh and Pakistan will start the series today and within Monday, the three-match series will be over and the visitors will be back home.
After all that has been said and done, the series is set to roll. Bangladesh team now have to focus on the matters on the ground rather than things off it.
These three T20Is will work as a prelude for Bangladesh, for both the ICC WT20 in October and also the ICC World Test Championship matches against Pakistan, which is scheduled for February.
Bangladesh and Pakistan will start the series on Friday and within Monday, the three-match series will be over and the visitors will be back home.
Worry of fatigue for the Tigers
As mentioned earlier, the Bangladesh team will play three T20Is in 96 hours. They reached Pakistan late on Wednesday and had their training on Thursday. After a day only, they will play the first match of the series.
All of the Bangladesh team members were busy playing the Bangabandhu BPL for the last one and a half month. Mahmudullah Riyad had a brief stint with an injury during the BBPL. So did opener, Nazmul Hossain. Others were fully fit during the hectic tournament. But, the question remains whether the cricketers got enough recovery time after BBPL or not.
However, in professional cricket, there is hardly any room for excuses as there are expectations on Mahmudullah and his boys to win the series. The skipper knows the situation, and he knows that they are facing one of the best T20 teams in the world.
"If you think about things like rating and ranking, it can influence your game. We are not worried about those. We now Pakistan is a formidable side and their ranking validates that. We are also a team on the rise and we wish to keep the momentum going. Boys have worked really hard. Hopefully, we will perform well."
Pakistan desperate for a T20I resurgence
Pakistan played nine T20Is matches last year, winning only one. The former number one ranked side in the format, were walloped everywhere they played. Their tour to Australia with the new skipper Babar Azam was nothing less than a disaster.
Now, with some young blood amongst their ranks and home advantage, Pakistan is all set for a strong comeback.
"I firmly believe we are a much better and stronger unit despite losing eight of the last nine matches. We need to get back to our winning habit from this series and so that we can bury the demons of the past few matches." Skipper Babar Azam is eyeing a revival for sure.
Bangladesh missing key players
Given that Shakib Al Hasan is banned and Mashrafe Mortzara no longer playing in the format, the onus was on the three of the big five, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudallah Riyad and Tamim Iqbal. However, just before the series Mushfiqur Rahim opted out. He was the top run-getter amongst the local lot in BBPL.
Losing one of their best batsmen will hurt the team for sure. The skipper is seeking balance with his youngsters.
"We have some young talents. I would want them to come good in the series. Besides, me, Soumya, Tamim, Mustafiz, Al Amin, Rubel, and Shafiul are experienced enough to handle the situation. We have a fine blend of experience and youth. We have to anchor on a team and individual performances. Only then we can get a good result."
Pakistan have consolidated their squad
Pakistan have called four uncapped players for the series - Ahsan Ali, Amad Butt, Usman Qadir, and Haris Rauf. Of those picks, Rauf is almost certain to get a place in the starting XI.
Also back after missing out in the Australia series are veterans like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Pakistan will hope that they will provide solidity to fiery batting line up.
Babar Azam is very confident on his squad, "We have some young but talented cricketers and if you mix them with the experience of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, then it becomes a good blend. The two have played nearly 200 T02I between them and now it is up to them to learn from their experiences and not only learn tricks of the trade but also put an end to our run of unfavourable results in the past few matches."
Hard to pick a winner
With Pakistan having a point to prove, it is easy to assume they will go for the kill. Also, it won't be a surprise if they relentlessly attack Bangladesh throughout the series. So the visitors can expect a lot of steamy spells and barrage of short balls.
On the other hand, Bangladesh are seeking to cash in on team performance. With a good balance of youth and experience, Mahmudullah sounds optimistic.
"I am not certain cannot whether we are favourites or not. We are visiting Pakistan after a long time. They are a strong team on their home soil. The format suits them. I am optimistic with our team and hopefully, we can win the series." he said.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarker, Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad ©, Mohammad Mithun, Mehedy Hasan, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain, and Mustafizur Rahman,
Pakistan: Babar Azam ©, Khushdil Shah, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain.