Underprepared Bangladesh up against desperate Ireland

Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim Iqbal and Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie pose with the ODI series trophyBCB

Bangladesh will resume the search to find their best XI for the next ICC World Cup while Ireland will vie to keep their World Cup qualification dreams alive in the first One-Day International of the three-match series between the sides at the County Ground in Chelmsford, England on Tuesday.

The match will begin at 3:45pm Bangladesh Standard Time and by the time this report was filed, the match has no official broadcaster in Bangladesh, meaning the Bangladesh fans can’t watch the match on television.

This series will also conclude the 2020-23 cycle of the ICC ODI Super League, a qualification tournament for the 2023 ICC World Cup in India.

13 teams competed in the Super League, with eight direct spots for the World Cup up for grabs. Seven out of the eight spots have already been filled, leaving just one slot open.

Bangladesh are currently fourth in the table and have already confirmed their berth in the showcase event set to be held in India later this year.

Bangladesh pacer Ebadot Hossain bowls in a training session in Chelmsford on 8 May 2023

Ireland, on the other hand, are 11th in the table and have a very slim chance of earning direct qualification.

The Irish are currently on 68 points from 21 games, exactly 30 points behind the No.8 team South Africa.

The only way Ireland can replace South Africa at the eighth position is if they win the series against Bangladesh 3-0 and then edge the African side by virtue of net run-rate.

The chances of that happening are extremely slim. But just as a drowning man clutches at straws to stay alive, Ireland will hoping for a miracle against the Tigers.

Broadcast blackout

On Saturday, Cricket Ireland announced the list of broadcasters for the series. The match will be broadcast in Ireland, England and even in India. But there were no broadcaster from Bangladesh.

The last time a series of the national team was at risk of a broadcast blackout was when the Tigers toured the West Indies in June 2022.

The first Test of the series could not be viewed on televisions in Bangladesh as no Bangladeshi channel could agree upon a deal to broadcast the match. After that, a deal was finally struck between the production company and a local TV channel and live coverage began from the second Test.

Chances are, something similar could happen this time too and broadcasters could complete an agreement at the eleventh hour.

If not, Bangladesh cricket fans won’t get to see their beloved Tigers in action for an ODI match for the first time in a very long while.

Underwhelming preparation

The Bangladesh team reached England on 2 May, with hopes of a proper build-up to the series with a practice match on 5 May. But the English weather and County cricket schedule didn’t allow Bangladesh that opportunity.

The practice match got completely rained out while Chelmsford County Ground, the home of County club Essex, hosted a County game till 7 May. The Tigers finally got the chance to train at the venue of the series on Tuesday, the day before the series begins.

Bangladesh batter Najmul Hossain Shanto bats in a net session in Chelmsford on 8 May 2023

Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha was displeased with the training opportunities provided before the series and made no attempts to hide it when speaking to the press on Tuesday.

 “It’s a very unique situation. We are playing Ireland in England. Normally it doesn’t happen very often so I can’t blame anyone. Because this is the first time. If we knew we wouldn’t have agreed to this kind of schedule. Because it’s not ideal preparation.”