The Tigers are desperate to get back into groove ahead of the tri- nation series in New Zealand against the hosts and Pakistan and the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

Bangladesh was initially was just supposed to hold a training camp in the UAE but the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) later decided that it would be better for the team to get some match practice and arranged a two-match series against the UAE.

T20 skipper Shakib Al Hasan is not taking part in this series as he had obtained a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BCB to play in the Caribbean Premier League before the UAE series was finalised.

Vice-captain Nurul Hasan will lead the team in Shakib’s absence.

“If we can win both matches against the UAE, the confidence we will gain will help us in the tri-nation T20I series in New Zealand and the T20 World Cup,” Nurul said ahead of leaving the country.

Bangladesh’s last international assignment before UAE series was the Asia Cup. The Tigers suffered defeats to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and were eliminated from the first round.

Before the Asia Cup, they also suffered their first ever bilateral series defeat against Zimbabwe in the T20 format.

But Nurul is trying to remain optimistic, saying he believes that a couple of victories against the UAE will help them regain their groove in the format.

“Even though we lost last few matches in this format, I think there is chance to get back into the groove. If we can create a habit of winning then the overall outlook of the side will change. That will be our target,” Nurul said.

Opener Soumya Sarkar, pacer Shoriful Islam and leg-spinner Rishad Hossain, who were named as stand-by players for the T20 World Cup, have been included for the UAE tour. Off-spinner Mahedi Hasan, who was dropped from the Tigers’ World Cup squad, took a leave from the tour.

Bangladesh earlier played just one match against the UAE in this format in 2016 and won that by 51 runs. Overall they played 133 matches, winning 45 and losing 85 while three matches ended in a no result.

Bangladesh squad for UAE series: Nurul Hasan (c), Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Liton Kumar, Yasir Ali, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Hasan Mahmud, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Nasum Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Rishad Hossain