Pakistan have retained much of the squad that flew high in the recently played T20 World Cup before falling to eventual champions Australia in the semis.
The only absentee will be Mohammad Hafeez, who withdrew in order to “give opportunities to young players”. In his place, allrounder Iftikhar Ahmed has been added to the squad.
Iftikhar, however, has not made the 12-man group from which the final 11 will be chosen. The dozen in contention are: Babar Azam (Captain), Shadab Khan (Vice-Captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jr., Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik
Even though the playing eleven tomorrow could be a bit different than the one that impressed during the World Cup, Pakistan have so much talent that they would still be the stronger side.
Bangladesh had a rather forgettable World Cup campaign. They had loaded up on T20s in the buildup to the tournament, hoping that it would fine-tune their players and give them an edge.
However, the strategy backfired as they were upset in their opening game by Scotland and even though they made it to the main round, they were eventually eliminated.
But the World Cup was in a foreign land and this series in hand against Pakistan is on home soil, where they have made sides as big as Australia and New Zealand tremble with humiliation in recent months.
Pakistanis, though, are much niftier players of spin and should be fine no matter what dust bowl or rank-turner they encounter in a land that once was their own and called East Pakistan.
One disappointing news for the Tigers is that there won’t be any Tamim Iqbal again as the classy opener, after missing the World Cup, is still on the sidelines due to a thumb injury as per ESPN.