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SA vs Ban – Russell Domingo wants to do what ‘no Bangladesh team has done before’ in South Africa


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“We are very happy that he is on the tour – his energy, attitude and work ethic has been fantastic,” head coach says of Shakib Al Hasan

Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo wants to do what “no Bangladesh team has done” in South Africa: score a first ODI series win.

“We have definitely come here as underdogs, having not won a game here before,” Domingo, who is in South Africa with Bangladesh for the first time since taking up the top job in 2019, said. “But we are confident in our one-day side. We have played well in this format for a long period of time. Players understand their roles. We are expecting a competitive series.

“But South Africa, who beat India 3-0 recently, will definitely start as favourites. They are playing in their own conditions where they are a tough side to beat. They will start as favourites, but that suits us coming as underdogs. It gives us a great opportunity to do something special. We want to do something that no Bangladesh team has done here before.”

Having served as South Africa’s head coach from 2013 to 17, Domingo is well-placed to analyse the two teams and the conditions in South Africa. He felt that the three-match series would be closely fought between South Africa, who are superior on paper, and the current World Cup Super League table-toppers, Bangladesh, who have ten wins from 15 matches.

“Both [top-order batters and pacers] have crucial roles to play,” he said. “We know their bowling attack is dangerous. We have to do well in the first 20 overs. If our fast bowlers can pick up early wickets, it will put them under pressure.”

Domingo said that with Shakib Al Hasan present in South Africa, Bangladesh might be able to turn their fortunes around, having lost all 19 ODIs they have played in the country in the past.

“It is always difficult when he is not in the team – you are not sure if you need an extra bowler or extra batsman”

Domingo on Shakib bringing balance to the team

Shakib was initially rested by the BCB when he had said he wasn’t mentally and physically fit to play. But the allrounder had a change of heart later and has since joined his team-mates.

“[Shakib] balances our team. It is always difficult when he is not in the team – you are not sure if you need an extra bowler or extra batsman,” Domingo said. “It is great to have a player of his calibre around. He is experienced. He has been here before. He is a world-class player. We are very happy that he is on the tour. His energy, attitude and work ethic has been fantastic.”

Before he left Dhaka, Domingo had expressed concern over the team’s catching. In the recent series against Afghanistan, Bangladesh had dropped several chances and there are still question marks over the team’s ability to adjust to conditions in Centurion and Johannesburg, where the three ODIs are scheduled to take place.

“It will be no more difficult than anywhere else,” he said. “Whether you are fielding here, in New Zealand or Bangladesh, a ball is a ball. You have to catch it. Obviously, there’s a bit of altitude here. The ball travels a bit quicker. There’s no major difference between catching here and catching in Bangladesh.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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