Faf du Plessis says Bangladesh can no longer be regarded as a so called ‘minnow’ team when it comes to the shorter formats of the game, reports Kobus Pretorius.
South Africa held their first training session of the tour on Tuesday as they prepare for the two T20 internationals that will be played on Sunday and next Tuesday.
The Proteas, like many other teams, have an excellent record against the Tigers, but this tour has become a bit of an unknown. Bangladesh’s run of form began at the World Cup earlier this year where they reached the play-offs after eliminating England from the tournament.
Since then they have beaten Pakistan 3-0 (in April) and just last month shocked India by winning the ODI series 2-1. Considering how quickly a team’s fortunes can turn in 20-over cricket, Bangladesh will fancy their chances for another upset come Sunday.
‘Bangladesh are no longer a minnow team,’ T20 captain Faf du Plessis said. ‘It’s good for world cricket that they are doing well.
‘Bangladesh are beating big teams regularly now so we really respect their capabilities as a team and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We are going to need our best players to beat them so it will be a competitive series.’
Du Plessis agreed that South African players’ participation in the IPL has helped the Proteas perform well on the subcontinent.
‘It’s one of the biggest reasons we’ve done well here,’ Du Plessis said.
Coach Russell Domingo agreed: ‘South Africa’s record on the subcontinent has been good for the last few years,’ he said.
‘It brings out the best in us. The players enjoy it here and there aren’t too many distractions for us. That’s good because tours like this enhance the team culture.
‘The players will be fresh and over the World Cup disappointment. There is a determination and energy, especially from the new and younger players in the squad. The guys enjoy spending time together off the field and being in each others company.’
With the T20 World Cup being played in India early next year, Du Plessis underlined the importance of this series.
‘We don’t play a lot of T20’s in the build-up to the tournament. It’s important to give new players a chance to play where possible.
‘We won’t do anything different on this tour compared to previous ones when it comes to preparation. The only thing that has changed is that Bangladesh is really confident at the moment and playing good cricket.’
One of the players South Africa will definitely keep an eye on is seamer Mustafizur Rahman. He was the big danger man for Bangladesh against India and took 11 wickets in his first two ODI matches.
Rahman took 5-50 on debut in the first ODI and followed it up with 6-43 in the second game.
‘We haven’t sat down to analyse him yet,’ Du Plessis said, ‘but we’ll definitely do that. The heat is usually the first challenge we have to overcome. We are a pretty high intensity team, but we’ll have to pull it back a bit.’
The two T20 matches will be held at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on 5 and 7 July.