• Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:29 am

Injury-hit Bangladesh start WTC campaign Friday

  • Published at 09:26 pm November 25th, 2021
Bangladesh Test captain Mominul Haque, head coach Russell Domingo and team director Khaled Mahmud ponder team strategy during training at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong Thursday BCB

Prospects are looking bleak for the Mominul-led side who won't get the services of key players against formidable Pakistan

Bangladesh are returning to the Test arena after four months and their first game of the two-match series that starts from Friday at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium will also commence their journey in the World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle.

Recently Bangladesh cricket has been shattered with continuous losses - a shambolic T20 World Cup followed by a clean sweep against Pakistan in the three-match T20I series recently - and the Tigers will be desperate to efface the disappointments induced from the shortest format by showing some positives in the longest format.

But the prospects are bleak as the Mominul Haque-led Test side, which lost to the West Indies in their last home series, will not get the services of some key players against the strong Pakistan outfit.

Shakib al Hasan, the country’s best ever all-rounder, is ruled out of the match due to hamstring injury that he sustained during the T20 World Cup and Bangladesh’s most successful opener Tamim Iqbal will also be unable to take the field for his finger injury that he initially incurred while playing the Everest Premier League.

Experienced Mahmudullah, who scored an unbeaten century in Bangladesh’s last Test against Zimbabwe, announced his retirement earlier this week while pacer Taskin Ahmed will also be out of the XI due to his injury that he picked up during the T20I series against Pakistan.

But Bangladesh skipper wanted to stay positive and term it a good opportunity for the young players. 

“It is a challenge for a young captain like me to head into the new WTC cycle with a young team. We have always required senior players in the Test side. Shakib bhai, Tamim bhai and Taskin are regular players. But it is a continuous process. We have to move on. We cannot be disappointed all the time. I firmly believe it is a huge opportunity for the younger players,” said Mominul at a virtual press conference Thursday. 

Bangladesh failed to win any match in the last cycle of WTC and stayed bottom of the table with just a draw and a shambolic 4.6% percentage. 

Mominul knows the reality and rather than eyeing results he is looking to build a team that may gradually ascend through the ranks. 

“Everyone wants results. Not just me. We definitely have long-term plans in Tests. We want to build slowly, and within a series or two we will know where our Test team stand," said Mominul. 

“I think we have to take two steps upwards in the WTC, to call it satisfactory."

On the other hand, Pakistan have been one of the most improved sides in the international arena recently and the Babar Azam-led side look settled and hungry in all three formats.

However, Pakistan had a rather disappointing WTC 2019-21 cycle as they finished sixth with four wins from 12 matches.

They started the current cycle with a 1-1 draw against the West Indies in the Caribbean and will be eager to pick up some vital points against Bangladesh. 

“I think we will fare better in the ICC Test Championship this time round. If you look at our Test team it is quite settled and the way we have played against the West Indies, Zimbabwe and South Africa it proves that we are quite an experienced team and the players are performing throughout. I think we can leave an impact in the Test Championship,” said Babar Azam during a virtual press conference Thursday. 

“I think it takes time for a team to come into a shape and perform consistently and I think we are now getting into a shape. Test match is very vital and it is the purest form of cricket and we need to enjoy playing and be focused on it and have a good Test match,” added the Pakistan skipper.

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