Kiwis arrive tonight


Things are all set for the New Zealand cricket team to make a quiet arrival in the capital tonight as a long holiday starts from today to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr.

In their second visit to the country after a four years gap, the Black Caps, on a month-long tour, will play three one-day internationals and two Tests as well as a single warm-up game against a Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) selection on October 7.

The New Zealand team is coming earlier than scheduled to accustom themselves with the prevalent conditions in the subcontinent.The series will start with the first one-day match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on October 9.

Meanwhile the Tigers had their last practice session yesterday at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium before going on Eid holidays and they will return to business on October 4.The national selectors will announce the 14-member squad from the 24 probables the day after the resumption of the camp and there is hardly any doubt that more than one uncapped players will be included in the side.

The departure of some national players, who joined the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) to receive a ten-year ban by BCB, has paved the way for some young guns to make their international debut during the coming home series against the Kiwis.

Everybody is looking forward to seeing how Mohammad Ashraful's men respond on the field after the ICL-jolt."Understandably there is a fair chance to see some new guys in the side when we announce the final squad on October 5," said chief selector Rafiqul Alam yesterday.

"We will also announce a team for the warm-up match on the same day which will be a mixed team of national and upcoming players," he said.Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) was thinking of another practice match on October 4 but there was hardly any chance to see the additional match because the players will join on the same day after the vacation.

At the moment the fitness of middle-order batsman Rokibul Hassan however is the bigger concern for the team management as the right-hander, who had injured his right thumb while batting in the first ODI against Australia at Darwin, is yet to recover from his injury."We hope he will be okay before the series.

He will play the warm-up game if he is declared fully fit because he couldn't bat for the last few weeks," said Rafiqul.The player himself however was not sure about his chances of playing the one-day series."I am still not comfortable with my injured thumb.

I am not sure whether it would be possible for me to play the one-day series. Everything however will be clear after the vacation," expected Rokibul.
NEW ZEALAND
Daniel Vettori (captain), Grant Elliott, Daniel Flynn, Mark Gillespie, Gareth Hopkins, Jamie How, Chris Martin, Michael Mason, Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Aaron Redmond, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Scott Styris and Ross Taylor.
ITINERARY
Oct 7: Limited-over warm-up match.
Oct 9: 1st ODI at Mirpur.
Oct 11: 2nd ODI at Mirpur.
Oct 14: 3rd ODI at Chittagong.
Oct 17-21: 1st Test at Chittagong.
Oct 25-29: 2nd Test at Mirpur.

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