youThere may be something slightly ridiculous, even comical, about England starting a series in Bangladesh just hours after completing one in New Zealand, but there is no lack of seriousness about the task they face on their first visit here in seven years, nor about the group of players who have gathered for it.
This trip had originally been planned for fall 2021, but was rescheduled for a variety of reasons, including a chronic case of bubble fatigue. So what was intended as last-minute build-up to a World Cup in one format has become long-distance build-up to another in another – after three straight ODIs of so many T20s here, England’s white-ball team She will keep her pajamas until September. when New Zealand and Ireland visit in the weeks leading up to defend their 50+ title in India.
Bangladesh’s recent home record in both formats is excellent: since the end of 2018 they have won 81% of their home ODIs (compared to 48% on their travels) and 58% of their home T20s (compared to with 26% out). India, Australia and New Zealand have all lost series here in the past two years, with some particularly striking scores along the way: in T20, the Kiwis were bowled out for 60 and 93 and Australia for 62, with Matthew Wade lamenting “the more international fields.” challenging games I’ve played.”
With an Indian Autumn on the horizon, this could be a useful experience, and England’s last 12 months in white-ball cricket, when they followed up a disappointing summer at home by winning the T20 World Cup, will ensure that even a run of ill-fated results does not elicit a sense of wild panic (although given the blaring chaos of the Dhaka streets, units may collapse).
But if those memories provide any collective solace ahead of a potentially awkward assignment, then the presence of Jason Roy, who belatedly joined the team on Monday, arriving from Pakistan along with James Vince, is a reminder of what’s at stake for the players, the first player paid for a summer of setbacks by losing his place not only on the team but on that victorious World Cup team.
The sense of potential personal danger is real, and even without the injured Jonny Bairstow and multi-format players preparing for the flight home from Wellington, this is a devilishly hard team to fit in. If Roy and Dawid Malan open the batting in Wednesday’s opening ODI and Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali play, at least one of Will Jacks, Phil Salt and Vince will have to be left out. Meanwhile, the battle for bowling spots is even more bitter: Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Saqib Mahmood (who will be replaced by Chris Jordan for T20), Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and Reece Topley are all available, with Adil Rashid and Rehan Ahmed. providing spin options.
Ahmed is battling illness and may not make it to the opening match, but the 18-year-old’s white-ball debut is imminent. The twist might not dominate though: Mahmood, who is in line to return to full international action after recovering from a spinal stress fracture, knows this from personal experience, having excelled on his previous visit , for the Under-19 World Cup in 2016, when his 13 wickets put him in third place in the tournament standings. “We had similar conversations where we expected our spinners to do most of the work, but I had a really successful tournament,” he said Monday, “and I want to do the same again.”