Mercurial Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal must shine if the Tigers are to upset the odds in their upcoming ODI and T20I series against New Zealand.
Bangladesh recently completed their quarantine period in New Zealand ahead of two three-match series and will be massive underdogs in both formats.
The Blackcaps have been superb on home soil over the past few years and are ranked third and fifth in ODIs and T20Is respectively, while the Tigers are seventh in both [ICC].
There’s plenty of talent in the Bangladesh touring party, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Soumya Sarkar both capable of special innings, while Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan are dangerous with the ball.
Tamim Iqbal key to Bangladesh’s slim hopes in New Zealand
However, in the absence of Shakib al Hasan, who has been granted paternity leave, Tamim Iqbal is the tourists’ key man.
The left-hander will captain the ODI side and is a shoo-in at the top of the order for the T20Is.
At 31 and with 288 international white-ball appearances under his belt, he has plenty of experience to call upon.
His talent has never been in question, neither has his shot-making ability.
However, consistency has eluded him at times, as suggested by his solid but relatively unspectacular averages of 36.98 and 24.08 in ODI and T20I cricket.
Tamim has played 18 limited-overs matches in New Zealand and has largely struggled there in the past but should be better for those experiences and determined to pile on the runs this time around.
Only if the opener is able to provide a strong platform, will the Tigers have a chance of success against an opposition bowling line-up containing the likes of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.
Touring sides have found it tough going in New Zealand of late but Bangladesh need a lift after their recent home Test series defeat to a second-string West Indies and Tamim could be the man to provide it.