Visiting Bangladesh will aim to rectify their performance from the previous tour of the Caribbean when they face the West Indies in the first of two Test matches, starting Wednesday at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The series will also be a test for Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan, who is returning to lead the side in Tests after seven long years. It will also be an acid test for newly-appointed Tigers head coach Steve Rhodes, who will be undertaking his first assignment with Bangladesh.
Overall, there will be many challenges for the Tigers and only time will tell how they react to it. The last time the Bangladesh side visited the Caribbean, they were whitewashed in both the Test and ODI series while the lone T20I got abandoned due to rain.
This time around, they had a good preparation, as far as the batting department is concerned. The visiting side drew the solitary two-day warm-up game against Cricket West Indies President’s XI but the Bangladesh batsmen got some runs under their belts.
The deck for the practice match was flat and without doubt, things will not be the same in the first Test. However, Bangladesh should be happy nonetheless as opener Tamim Iqbal, Shakib and all-rounder Mahmudullah scored some useful runs in the warm-up game. Both Tamim and Mahmudullah retired not out after scoring 125 and 102 respectively while Shakib added 67 to the tally.
Bangladesh have lost the toss and put into bat first against West Indies in the first Test.#BANvWI— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) July 4, 2018
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The Tigers though will be wary of the Windies pace attack heading into the first Test. The West Indian bowling attack, led by pacemen Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder, fetched the attention of the cricketing arena when Sri Lanka toured the Caribbean a couple of weeks ago. Right-arm seamer Gabriel bagged 20 wickets in three Tests while Holder notched 12.
With the pitch expected to offer purchase for the pace bowlers, the Tigers will be depending heavily on right-arm pacer Rubel Hossain, Bangladesh’s most senior campaigner as far as the bowling department is concerned.
In the tour game, the Bangladesh bowlers were able to pick up eight wickets, six of which were bagged by the seamers in the shape of Rubel, Shafiul Islam and Abu Jayed.
When the first Test gets underway, Shakib needs to stand out as a leader. Shakib’s captaincy, especially, will be very much under the spotlight with a few influentials in the BCB questioning his ability to keep the team motivated. There were also rumours of the BCB handing over the captaincy to Mahmudullah instead.
Besides the opposition, the Tigers will also need to overcome the tactics laid by Windies head coach Stuart Law, who was previously at the helm of Bangladesh. Law worked with the Bangladesh team for a few months in the recent past and guided the Tigers to the final of the ACC Asia Cup 2012 in Dhaka. Decorated former Queensland batsman Law had worked closely with the majority of the current Tigers cricketers and his experience in the Bangladesh Premier League T20 will give the West Indies the edge.