Bangladesh are in the T20 World Cup main draw this year but face another winless tournament after if they can’t recover from a troubled build-up.
Selectors called a truce with star player Shakib Al Hasan and invited him to resume the captaincy in August after he ended a controversial partnership with an offshore gambling website.
But his return made little difference in that month’s Asia Cup, with the team crashing out after losses to Afghanistan and eventual winners Sri Lanka.
And they lost all four matches in this week’s tri-series warm-ups against New Zealand and Pakistan.
Bangladesh face India, Pakistan, South Africa and two qualifiers in Group 2, and pundits have already written them off.
“There is no easy match in this kind of tournament. With the kind of cricket that we have played in recent times, it is difficult to expect something,” said Nazmul Abedin, a highly regarded coach and cricket commentator in Bangladesh.
“If we can win just one game, that will be a big achievement for us.”
Bangladesh’s record in tournaments is dismal with their only victory in the T20 World Cup main draw coming against West Indies in the 2007 inaugural edition.
Home series wins over Australia and New Zealand last year raised hopes of a turnaround, until a winless run through last year’s World Cup and a 3-0 series defeat to Pakistan soon after.
The twin humiliations prompted a shake-up, with head coach Russell Domingo relieved of his T20 duties and replaced by Sridharan Sriram ahead of this year’s Asia Cup.
The team has also cycled through captains since last year’s World Cup until Shakib returned after bowing to the cricket board’s ultimatum to scrap the betting site deal.
‘It will be tough’
Former Bangladesh captain and national selector Habibul Bashar has backed the team to put up a challenge in “tough” conditions Down Under, but was under no illusions about their chances.
“They should express themselves without worrying about the result and try to play their best cricket,” he said.
“It will be tough because other teams are much ahead of Bangladesh and the conditions are also difficult.”
Shakib, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Liton Das and Afif Hossain will carry the team’s batting order while pace spearhead Mustafizur Rahman will lead the bowling charge.
Shakib and team open their World Cup campaign at Bellerive Oval in Hobart on October 24 against the runners-up from qualifying Group A.