In the last Zimbabwe tour during 2001, and then at home, Bangladesh team have broken so many records and the players have achieved so many things, a cricket fan this time will want something more. They will not be satisfied with a double century, a 10 wicket match hawls etc. They want more.
First let us look at what we have achieved in our last Zimbabwe tour.
We all remember and know Habibul Bashar's maiden test match hundred against Zimbabwe at home. But what we are not aware of is that Habibul Bashar (413 runs in 4 tests) is also the leading run scorer for Bangladesh in 4 tests along with Javed Omar Belim (317 runs in 4 tests) when Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have played against each other. But there is a trick in this fact. Andy Flower of Zimbabwe has batted in only 4 test innings compared to Habibul Bashar and Javed Omar Belim's 8 test innings. However, Habibul Bashar's batting average is over fifty which is far better than his career batting average of around 37. Since Javed Omar will not go to Zimbabwe due to his recovery from operation, so we will not consider Javed Omar's past records in Zimbabwe at the moment.
Monjurul Islam had taken 6 wickets in his debut test for Bangladesh in Zimbabwe. He is also the leading wicket taker for Bangladesh along with Enamul Haque with 8 test wickets.
The first wicket opening partnership of 73 against Zimbabwe is also the highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in test match cricket. Similarly, the fourth wicket partnership of 114 between Habibul Bashar and Mehrab Hossain along with the 10th wicket partnership of 34 between Khaled Mashud and Mohammad Sharif are the highest partnerships for Bangladesh in test cricket which are still standing. It is worth mentioning here that the 4th wicket partnership of 114 runs were scored in Harare Sports Club in Zimbabwe.
But, the 114 run partnership is not the highest partnership for Bangladesh against Zimbabwe. This is the 2nd wicket partnership of 122 runs between Habibul Bashar and Javed Omar that is the highest partnership in Chittagong. Compared to the two century partnerships of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe has two more century partnerships. They are 108 runs for the 1st wicket, 149 runs for the 4th wicket between the great Flower brothers, 137 runs for the 6th wicket and 108 runs partnership for the 8th wicket. This is amazing to note how good the Zimbabwean lower order batting is.
There have been four test centuries for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh, but only one of them were scored in Zimbabwe, at Bulawayo by Guy Whittall.
The most disappointed stats for Bangladesh is that Zimbabwe have scored more than 400 runs in each of the test matches that these two teams have played. Another disappointing thing for Bangladesh is that they were all out for 107 and 168 runs at Dhaka and Bulawayo. This is a surprise to many as both the Dhaka and Bulawayo pitches are fairly good batting tracks.
So far, we have discussed the test matches played between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. In One Day cricket, Bangladesh sometimes have been more competitive, but in One Day cricket too, Bangladesh is win-less against Zimbabwe.
In the brief history of Bangladesh's playing cricket, they have already met Zimbabwe in ODI cricket on 10 occassions! And in all those matches, Andy Flower and Grant Flower were involved. The closest player for Bangladesh in this respect is Khaled Mashud, the wicket keeper who have played in 9 ODIs, and as expected there is a huge difference in their batting performance. When the Flower brothers have a One Day batting average of more than 45, our most experienced One Day player against Zimbabwe, Khaled Mashud's batting average is only just over 8!
The three best batsman for Bangladesh against Zimbabwe are Mehrab Hossain, Akram Khan and Habibul Bashar. Compared to their career batting average, their batting average against Zimbabwe is quite respectable. In fact, they are so respectable, that it is a wonder as to why no other batsman has their batting average so high against Zimbabwe as these three. (Mehrab Hossain 49.50 in 4 ODIs, Akram Khan 33.83 in 7 ODIs and Habibul Bashar 33.25 in 8 ODIs.) In addition to all that, I think that I don't have to remind the Bangladeshi fans that Mehrab Hossain is the first and the only batsman so far to have scored a One Day International century against Zimbabwe at Dhaka during the 1999 season.
Monjurul Islam and Shafiuddin Ahmed are our best pacers against Zimbabwe. And it is a surprise that our pacers have done well against Zimbabwe than our spinners (Mohammad Rafique's bowling average is over 78 compared to Monjurul Islam's 25 or Shafiuddin Ahmed's 29).
There have been two century partnerships for Bangladesh against Zimbabwe in ODIs for the first and the fourth wicket. And not surprisingly, these partnerships are still standing as the highest first (170 runs) and fourth wicket (115 runs) partnerships for Bangladesh against any team.
There has also been two fifty wicket partnerships for Bangladesh for the 6th and 7th wickets, which is highly appreciated. However, it is heartening to see that Zimbabwe's highest wicket partnerships against us include three century partnerships and also three fifty partnerships for the first 6 wickets.
There have been three ODI centuries for Zimbabwe against Bangladesh and two of them were scored in Zimbabwe, at Bulawayo and Harare.
The most enterprising information among the records and also the most fantastic one is that Bangladesh have managed to score more than 250 runs in 4 of the 10 ODIs played between them. There is also a negative effect - Bangladesh have so far scored less than 150 twice against Zimbabwe (92 all out at Nairobi and 103 all out at Harare in the last Zimbabwe tour.) In addition, Zimbabwe have totals of more than 300 in 4 ODIs and in 2 more ODIs they have totals of more than 250.
I hope that this very long analysis of the previous tours of Bangladesh against Zimbabwe will give a brief idea to the readers of what to expect from the coming Zimbabwe tour and what not to expect. May the players not disappoint us altogether again!