Mirpur: Nobody likes to be last. That adds extra spice to the three-Test cricket series between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe beginning at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Saturday.
In the 10-team Test rankings, Zimbabwe are ninth, and Bangladesh 10th. Whoever loses the series will be 10th.
"The ranking issue is there but more than that we are focusing on the Test series," Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said. "We are working on our processes. If that is alright, the result and everything else will be okay. The basic things should be right, and that's the main thing."
The basics haven't been right for Bangladesh this year, having won only two of 25 internationals. The worst was the World Twenty20 in March-April when, what should have been a celebration as host, Bangladesh lost to Hong Kong in the preliminaries and were thrashed in all four group matches. They still haven't won a game, including a limited-overs visit by India and a tour of West Indies.
In July, star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan was suspended for a "severe attitude problem," but was cleared last month to return to the team. His spin, alongside new legspinner Jubair Hossain and raw left-armer Taijul Islam, is expected to be a key to Bangladesh's hopes.
But Shakib's batting might be more important in a brittle lineup. "Hopefully he will give his best," Rahim said.
"Our main focus will be to bat well, as we have a good enough bowling attack to take 20 wickets at home. We need a win, and we have worked hard or done everything possible for that, on the field and off. Hopefully it will work out."
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor said they have been preparing for a spin barrage, and they are ready to give as good as they get. "Our preparation has been solely focusing on spin," Taylor said. "I am not disregarding anything else.
"In spinning conditions, we back our spinners," he added. "And we have got a couple of experienced seam bowlers who can reverse the ball later on, they are an asset for us.
"We have got some guys who have got experience playing here at the first-class level. Hopefully, we can use that advantage."
Zimbabwe's recent results have been a little better than Bangladesh's. In July, Zimbabwe drew a home ODI series with Afghanistan and beat Australia in an ODI tri-series in August.