The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Tamim Aims At Zimbabwe

TOURING Bangladesh batsman, Tamim Iqbal, says the Tigers are prepared to launch a strong offensive when they clash with Zimbabwe in a month-long tour that begins next Wednesday. The teams are scheduled to square off in two Tests, three One Day Internationals and a two-match Twenty20 series in Harare and Bulawayo.

The tourists arrived in Harare on Thursday evening and had their first practice yesterday.

The Test series which begins next Wednesday will be hosted at Harare Sports Club while the ODIs and T20s will take place at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. Iqbal, who made his debut in Zimbabwe in 2007, is not expecting an easy outing against their close rivals and said Bangladesh are aware of the challenge of playing on foreign soil. The Tigers were on the receiving end the last time they visited as they lost the one-off Test and the ODI series 3-2.

"Zimbabwe are a strong side on their backyard, I reckon. We need to play our best cricket to beat them. We got here five days before the Test match so we have to utilise the time very sensibly to adapt to the conditions and the wicket as well. When the first match starts we need to produce our best cricket to beat them because it will be a difficult tour for us," said Iqbal.

However the top order batsman, who is battling a right thumb injury, has an outside chance of playing in the first game but is expected to recover in time for the second Test.

Iqbal suffered a hairline fracture on his right thumb while fielding in the first ODI against Sri Lanka last month after scoring 112 runs and had to return home early for treatment.

But Bangladesh have been boosted by the return of Shakib Al Hasan in the 15-man squad.

Shakib missed the team's tour of Sri Lanka as he needed time to recover from surgery for a stress fracture in his right shin. The all-rounder could be available for the first Test but his role could be limited to batting only.

Shahriar Nafees and Enamul Haque have also been included in the side after both missed the Sri Lanka tour with injuries. Tamim said their experience in Sri Lanka gave them the confidence they needed ahead of this tour after drawing the ODI series 1-1 with the more superior opponents.

They also played a one off Test and T20 and but lost both matches despite their determined performances.

"In Sri Lanka we did very well. The Sri Lanka conditions are not that easy but we did really really well. So we have confidence, the boys are very confident but still we need to play good cricket to beat any team," said Iqbal.

Bangladesh however have not been able to get enough time to train together as a team back home since their return from Sri Lanka on April 2.

Their intended practice was cancelled this week due to nationwide strikes in the Asian country.

Iqbal said they have played lots of domestic cricket and are aiming to use the time they have here to perfect their game. The explosive top order batsman singled out Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza as the most dangerous players in the Zimbabwe team when in form.

"Zimbabwe have got some quality players like Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza.

"They are very good players and they played in the Bangladesh Premier League and so we know how they play and how they go about their swing," said Iqbal.

"Still we need to produce our best cricket to restrict them. I think these two players are key for them and we are well prepared. A lot of us have been to Zimbabwe before and it's a good thing that we have five days before the Test match and I am sure by the time the first match starts we will be ready to go.

"We would like to win the One Day Series and the Test as well but as I said it will not be easy," said Iqbal.

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