'Inexperienced' Australia face Bangladesh T20 challenge

Dhaka (AFP) –


A young Australian squad faces a tough challenge maintaining an unbeaten Twenty20 record against Bangladesh in a five-match series in Dhaka starting Tuesday.

This is the first bilateral series between the two sides. Their previous four meetings -- all won by Australia -- were in T20 World Cups.

The series is a chance for both teams to prepare for the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in October-November.

Despite their unbeaten record against the hosts, Australia are missing key regulars, including the injured Steve Smith and Aaron Finch.

David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins are among the stars who opted out of the West Indies and Bangladesh tours.

Australia lost a five-match T20 series 4-1 to the West Indies in July.

Matthew Wade has been named the captain for the series which will be played over just seven days in an empty Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium and concludes August 9.

"We've got a younger batting group than we've ever had on these tours, there's not a lot of international experience among our batters," he said Monday.

"The bowling takes care of itself, with guys like (Adam) Zampa and (Mitchell) Starc and (Josh) Hazlewood. They've all played a lot of cricket together."

Fast bowler Riley Meredith was ruled out on Monday after a side strain and replaced by Tasmanian quick Nathan Ellis.

Bangladesh are without batsman Mushfiqur Rahim and batsman-wicketkeeper Liton Das due to Covid-19 protocols that require players to join an isolation bubble at least 10 days before the series.

Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal will also miss the series due to an injury.

"You've got to be able to play T20 cricket on a good wicket because that is what you are going to face when we play in the World Cup," Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said Sunday.

"I don't think we are a bad T20 team at all and think we've got some wonderful T20 players."

Bangladesh squad: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Soumya Sarkar, Naim Sheikh, Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Afif Hossain, Shamim Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Taijul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain, and Rubel Hossain.

Australia squad: Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (c), and Adam Zampa.

Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellis, Tanveer Sangha.