Bangladesh are 10/11 with Victor Chandler to beat 5/2 Zimbabwe when the Africans make their return to Test cricket in Harare.
Zimbabwe return from their self-imposed six-year exile in a one-off match after convincing the powers that be of their ability to again function as a full-member Test-playing nation.
The return of former players such as Heath Streak and Grant Flower to the coaching team has enthused outsiders that Zimbabwe are capable of returning to the competitive force they were at the turn of the century, but wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu has cast doubt over the wisdom of the move.
“I don’t think much has changed really, the administration is still struggling to run cricket in the country well,” he said. “For example, the guys haven’t been paid their match fees from August last year up to now. At the moment, I am sitting here without a contract, no one has got a contract; those are all things that the administration is struggling to deal with.
“When you walk around and you see a house that’s painted well, you will think that house is really standing strong but if does not have a strong foundation, it will fall down one day or another. Zimbabwe Cricket has just painted a house that’s about to fall.”
While Taibu’s comments are worrying he is enthused about the ability of the current team, which will be led by Brendan Taylor for the first time, to overcome any perceived problems and test a Bangladesh side that will play its first five-day game in 14 months.
“To see the guys running in and bowling and hitting a lot of balls in the nets it really shows that the guys have got the country at heart,” he said. “We are on the verge of a Test match and no one has got a contract, no one knows what we will get paid, but the guys love their country and they can’t see cricket drop like that.”
Bangladesh have arrived in Zimbabwe looking to impress under new coach Stuart Law after he was appointed last month. Law has identified the need to strengthen the Tigers’ mental approach to the longer form, as he looks to make a winning start.
“It’s not a skill problem as I’ve seen. The players are highly skilled,” said Law, who could hand debuts to Nasir Hossain and Shuvugato Hom. “It’s the mental approach that has to change in Test cricket. They have to find a tempo that suits Test cricket with their batting.
“If we can find the right tempo, we can post scores that the bowlers can bowl at. I’ve set a challenge for us to bat 120 overs in the first innings. If we can do that, 350-plus should be an achievable target.”