Bangladesh like ‘underdog’ tag against Black Caps, says Rhodes

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes says his side, labelled as the underdog, should not be written off ahead of the first one-day international against New Zealand in Napier on Thursday.

“But we quite like being underdogs. We can surprise a few people being an underdog and I think New Zealand know they’ve still got to play some very good cricket to beat us,” said Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes.   -  Getty Images

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes said his team was relishing being called the underdogs as it chases a maiden victory over the Black Caps on New Zealand soil on Wednesday.

The tourist has never beaten the host in any format during four previous tours to New Zealand but Rhodes said the side should not be written off ahead of the first one-day international in Napier on Thursday.

“We know it’s going to be very difficult, we’ve got to be realistic,” the Englishman told reporters.

“But we quite like being underdogs. We can surprise a few people being an underdog and I think New Zealand know they’ve still got to play some very good cricket to beat us.”

Rhodes said Bangladesh’s task had been made tougher by the injury-enforced absences of all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and paceman Taskin Ahmed.

He said the gruelling Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament had been a mixed blessing for his players as they prepare for a New Zealand tour that includes three one-day internationals and three Tests.

“It’s been a hard grind but a great competition as well (with) lots of positives in terms of experiencing tough cricket,” he said.

“But it’s taken its toll and the preparation is not ideal. I only hope that on the day we show that we can play some cricket.” While his players were battle hardened, Rhodes said they must be wary of a New Zealand side still smarting from a 4-1 ODI series loss to India.

“I think they’ll use those bruises to bounce back and we’ve got to be ready for a tough New Zealand turning up,” he said.

Bangladesh is still buoyed by its own 2-1 ODI series win over the West Indies in December and Rhodes said his side was far more experienced than those that previously toured New Zealand.

“It’s a really big task but it doesn’t mean we can’t win,” he said.