Dhaka: New Zealand and Bangladesh will both rest their captains and several other key players in their three-match One Day International series starting Thursday ahead of the World Cup.
Instead of Kane Williamson, Lockie Ferguson will lead the Kiwis, who included only five members of their World Cup squad for the series at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Tim Southee — who is to have a thumb operation — and Tom Latham are the highest-profile other Kiwi absentees.
But pacer Trent Boult, all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, spinner Ish Sodhi, and batsman Will Young are included.
“This is a big series for us and a very challenging one,” Ferguson, who is on his maiden tour of Bangladesh, said Wednesday.
“From our point of view, it’s good build-up for a World Cup,” he added. “We know how strong Bangladesh are on their home conditions, so it’s a good challenge for us.”
The Kiwis will be looking to win their first ODI series in Bangladesh in 15 years, having lost all seven matches to the hosts in the previous two series respectively in 2010 and 2013.
Bangladesh spinners also tested New Zealand in a 3-2 win of a five-match series in 2021, but Ferguson said they were ready to face the challenge.
“But our batters have been preparing,” he said. “They’re used to spinning tracks, having played around the world.”
‘Everyone has a chance’
Bangladesh have yet to name their World Cup squad but rested regular captain Shakib Al Hasan along with all-rounder Mehidy Hasan Miraz, batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, and pace trio Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud and Shoriful Islam.
Stand-in Bangladesh captain Liton Das said the series would be a great opportunity for his teammates to stake a claim to the World Cup squad.
“The players who will play have been out of international cricket for a long time,” he said. “Everyone has a chance.”
Bangladesh have recalled senior campaigner Mahmudullah Riyad for the series, with the right-hander last playing an ODI in March against England.
Veteran opening batsman Tamim Iqbal also returned after his retirement U-turn and injury layoff that forced him to miss the recent Asia Cup.
Bangladesh failed to reach the Asia Cup final but defeated ultimate winners India in their last match to finish the tournament on a high.
The second and third ODIs will be held at the same ground on September 23 and 26.
The series will be the last for both teams before the World Cup starts in India on October 5.
Bangladesh squad: Liton Das (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Anamul Haque, Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah Riyad, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Zakir Hasan, Rishad Hossain, Khaled Ahmed.
New Zealand squad: Lockie Ferguson (capt), Finn Allen, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Chad Bowes, Dane Cleaver, Dean Foxcroft, Kyle Jamieson, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young.