McCullum – We know the expectation

A series win in all three formats - BLACKCAPS captain Brendon McCullum knows this is the expectation of his team during their tour of Bangladesh.

Their initial hurdle is the first Test match in Chittagong beginning tomorrow. While their warm-up match was abandoned due to rain, the team have been either training or playing in India and Sri Lanka for the past few weeks and are as prepared as they’ve ever been for sub-continent conditions.

Many of the players will see this tour as a chance to avenge their 2010 trip to Bangladesh, when the BLACKCAPS were beaten by the hosts 4-0 in the ODI series.  McCullum was one such player on the receiving end of that loss, but the skipper is confident of a much different outcome this time round.

“It was a good lesson of what not to do. It still hurts that tour,” says McCullum.

“I thought our preparation leading into that was not good. We were caught on the hop a little bit and against these guys in their own conditions you can’t afford to do that.

“A big challenge for us is that we come over here and get the job done and make sure we get the results, which is a series win across all three formats of the game. We know it’s not going to be easy but that’s the expectation on us and I think we’re better prepared for that.”

While nullifying the pain of 2010 is clearly front of mind for the players, one question is who will get the nod to begin that quest for redemption.

Young spinner Ish Sodhi is a looming Test debutant and McCullum was full of praise for the 20 year-old, who he said could well get the nod for tomorrow’s match.

“He’s a big opportunity to make his debut. The conditions over here look like they will suit the spin bowlers and his ability to bowl the variations that he possesses will certainly bring him into the reckoning.

“I’ve faced him a lot in the last couple of days and as Dan Vettori said in the media a while ago, he’s an incredible talent.

“He’s a rough diamond at this point and time, but if he does get the nod we’re confident we’ll be able to give him the freedom to be able to come in and just express himself.”

While the team won’t be confirmed until tomorrow, McCullum had his fingers crossed that everyone would be available for selection tomorrow. The team have often fallen ill in the sub-continent in the past – something else they’ll be looking to change.

You can watch all the action on SKY Sport from 4:30pm (NZ time).

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