Talking points as England prepare to take on Bangladesh in limited-overs series

England’s long winter schedule concludes with a limited-overs series in Bangladesh, which begins on Wednesday in Dhaka with the first of three ODIs.

As Bangladesh conditions are similar to India, which is where England will defend their World Cup title in the autumn, Jos Buttler’s team could use this trip as something of a reconnaissance mission.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the major talking points on the eve of the ODI series, which will be followed by three T20Is.

So much cricket

Minds and limbs have been stretched in recent months even if England have dug deep into their talent pool on six overseas ventures this winter, with two separate trips to Pakistan, a titanic seven-week stint in Australia, plus tours of South Africa, New Zealand and now Bangladesh. Even committed England supporters would be forgiven for overlooking the beginning of this series, coming just 24 hours after the Test side went down by just a solitary run in an extraordinary crescendo in Wellington.

Saturation point

India v England
Broadcasters have plenty of live cricket to choose from (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Cricketing boards would be wise to take note of the broadcasters’ apparent indifference of this tour with bilateral series coming under pressure from the proliferation of T20 franchise leagues. Sky has announced a deal to screen the three ODIs and three T20s but it has been reported there was a discrepancy between the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the broadcaster about the valuation of the matches, prompting the England and Wales Cricket Board to bridge the gap. The upshot is – similar to England’s ODI series in the Netherlands last year – the series will be available to stream for free on the ECB website for those without a Sky subscription.

World Cup tune-up

 World Cup trophy
England will look to defend their World Cup trophy in India later this year (Tim Goode/PA)

While the timing of this series is perplexing given its proximity to the Test side’s exploits, these three matches are England’s last in ODIs until September, when the World Cup will be weeks away. This will also be their final opportunity to play competitive cricket on spin-friendly pitches and conditions akin to India. England captain Buttler seems to be aware of the importance of the fixtures as he said earlier this week: “This is exactly the kind of challenge we need.”

England pack a punch

Bangladesh England Cricket
England still have a strong squad to face Bangladesh even without a number of missing players (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

England may be without Test stars Joe Root and Harry Brook while a few others have prioritised playing in the ongoing Pakistan Super League – with the ECB’s blessing – ahead of travelling to Bangladesh. But 11 of England’s 15-strong squad have played in a World Cup-winning campaign while Mark Wood and Jofra Archer are among an enviable array of fast bowlers who could light up the slow and low surfaces. Adil Rashid will lead the spin department alongside Moeen Ali and freshmen Will Jacks and Rehan Ahmed.

No overlooking Bangladesh anymore

The days of Bangladesh being the minnows of international cricket are long gone and they are experts in their own backyard, having won 12 of their last 13 ODI series at home. Pakistan, India (twice) and South Africa are among the teams who have been vanquished in Bangladesh since the 2015 World Cup but their only blemish in that time is against England. On that occasion, Buttler stood in for Eoin Morgan, who missed the tour due to security concerns, and oversaw a 2-1 series victory.