The Bangladesh cricket team is all set to depart for Sri Lanka on August 27th to participate in this year's ACC Asia Cup, which is slated to be held in both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Ahead of their departure for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh's head coach, Chandika Hathurusunghe, stated that their initial goal is to secure qualification for the second round of the event.
In addition to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Nepal are also participating in the Asia Cup.
Bangladesh's opening match is scheduled against Sri Lanka on August 31st. The team finds itself in group B, with Afghanistan being the third team in the group. While Bangladesh is set to face Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, they will need to travel to Pakistan for a match against Afghanistan on September 3rd.
Within the span of just three days, Bangladesh will traverse two countries to compete in two 50-over matches. Chandika, the coach, expressed some concerns about this tight schedule, saying, "It certainly is a new challenge because we normally don't travel between countries and play a tournament. But, it's the same thing for both teams. So, we are looking forward to that challenge."
Both Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have posed challenges for Bangladesh in previous Asia Cups. This time around, they are once again set to test the Tigers in the 50-over format.
"Those two teams played really good games against each other, especially in the previous Asia Cups. So, I think both teams give us a good challenge. But at the same time, I think we had some success against them in the recent past," Chandika said during a pre-event press conference in Dhaka.
Before departing for Sri Lanka, Bangladesh underwent a comprehensive preparation camp that included a medical assessment and fitness testing. Chandika expressed being "very happy" with the team's preparation for the Asia Cup.
The question of who will bat at number 7 has been a topic of discussion in the cricketing community in Bangladesh. Chandika clarified that he's not designating anyone for that role; rather, the decision will depend on the situation and the opponents.
The coach also praised the batting improvements of the bowlers, who often find themselves batting in the final few overs. He noted the progress of Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, and Mustafizur Rahman, considering it a positive development.
"Our main aim is to qualify for the Super Four," Chandika emphasized. "We are playing against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, a team that performs well on their home turf. And we will face Afghanistan in Pakistan, a team that recently won a series here. So, there are significant challenges, but we are prepared for them."
Bangladesh will have to overcome the absence of Ebadot Hossain, their fastest pacer. The coach acknowledged Ebadot's absence as a "significant loss" and pointed out that finding a direct replacement is a formidable task.
Ebadot sustained a leg injury during the ODI series against Afghanistan. Although initially part of the squad, the team's physiotherapist later indicated that he required more time to recover from his injury. As a result, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, an uncapped pacer, was named as his replacement.