Zimbabwe head coach Heath Streak believes his side are the underdogs for the upcoming tri-series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Zimbabwe kick off the series against the hosts in Mirpur on Monday knowing they face a tough challenge against two teams ranked above them in the ICC ODI rankings. Bangladesh are ranked as the seventh-best side in the world, while Sri Lanka are ninth and Zimbabwe 10th.
However, Zimbabwe's ranking is partly due to the fact they have not played an ODI since beating Sri Lanka in July. That historic 3-2 series win in Sri Lanka should give Zimbabwe the confidence to compete in the four day/night matches.
"I think we still have a long way to go - we are the underdogs in this series," Streak said. "But I still feel that we have got the quality of players we need to take Zimbabwe cricket forward. We showed against Sri Lanka last year that we can compete against other countries outside our home territory. It was very pleasing but we have a long way to go as a team."
Streak can call upon the experience of Brendan Taylor and Kyle Jarvis, who are involved with the one-day side for the first time since returning to the international set-up. Both players were released from their English county contracts with Nottinghamshire and Lancashire respectively in September 2017 in order to rekindle their international careers. Taylor will play his first ODI since the 2015 World Cup, while Jarvis plays for the first time since August 2013.
Zimbabwe could hand debuts to uncapped duo Brandon Mavuta and Ryan Murray, who have been included in the squad after impressing for the Zimbabwe academy set-up. Graeme Cremer will captain the side, which also includes experienced players Hamilton Masakadza and Craig Irvine in the middle order.
Streak has returned to Bangladesh for the first time since spending two years as the country's bowling coach between 2014 and 2016. The 43-year-old will look to use his knowledge of the country, conditions and opposition players to his advantage.
"We know the conditions and players, so does (Sri Lanka head coach) Chandika (Hathurusingha)," he said. "I think a lot of these Sri Lankan and Zimbabwean guys play in the Bangladesh Premier League. There aren't many secrets out there anymore. It is about coming up with good plans and technical advice for the teams and making sure you execute those skills well."
Zimbabwe play Bangladesh in Mirpur on Monday 15 January before two day/night matches against Sri Lanka. They finish the series against the hosts 23 January.
Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Imrul Kayes, Anamul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Abul Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mohammad Mithun, Sunzamul Islam.
Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Peter Moor, Malcolm Waller, Graeme Cremer (capt), Ryan Murray (wk), Tendai Chisoro, Brandon Mavuta, Blessing Muzarabani, Christopher Mpofu, Tendai Chatara, Kyle Jarvis.