Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim admitted that the Tigers will miss Tamim Iqbal and Shakib al Hasan in the second and final Test match against South Africa, starting Friday at Mangaung Oval.
However, the Tigers Test skipper also believes the rest of the players have the ability to perform well against the host in Bloemfontein.
Bangladesh last played a Test without the crucial duo back in 2013 against Sri Lanka in Galle.
The Tigers gave a good account of themselves in that Test, drawing against the Lankans.
“It is a major setback to not have your two best players (Tamim and Shakib). We really needed them here. We lost the first game badly. But time doesn’t stand still for anyone. Injuries are not in our control. The batsmen have to take advantage of good starts and put together big partnerships; the bowlers have to bowl in good line and length and consistently put them under pressure,” Mushfiq told the media during the pre-Test press conference Thursday.
“The last time we missed them was in Galle in 2013. It wasn’t an easy game for us. Sri Lanka were a far better team at that time but we played well and managed to draw the Test,” he said.
Opener Soumya Sarkar will return to the squad after being declared fit as Bangladesh will have a new opening pair in Soumya and top-order batsman Imrul Kayes.
Mushfiq urged the new openers to grab the opportunity with both hands and perform well at the middle.
“Starting every innings is tough but we expect them to give us a good start. I have a lot of confidence in them [Soumya and Imrul] to return among the runs. They can take a step forward if they can score runs in this game, particularly in the absence of Tamim,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“You can say a limited batting option for us but normally both openers don’t get injured at the same time. Pace bowlers are at the most risk of getting injured in these conditions, due to workload. Unfortunately, two of our three openers got injured. I think this is an opportunity for the others in the squad. I want them to make use of this opportunity,” he explained.
The Bangladesh captain was frustrated after the first Test at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom due to a below-par bowling performance, particularly in the first innings.
Mushfiq hoped that the bowlers will bowl well in the second Test and utilise the bowling-friendly pitch for a better display.
“It is only natural for people to talk if you’ve done badly. I am not worried about the outcome. I think about the process. They should do the same, give their best every ball,” he said.
“Not just our bowling, our batting unit collapsed in a big way in the second innings. I haven’t seen one of such a scale in recent years. It was a warning for us.
“When you get nothing from the wicket, you have to go to the other options. If you are not getting wickets, you have to cut down the run-rate. When the ball reverses or you get the second new ball, you can go back to the attacking options. Our bowlers couldn’t do it in the first Test but I am hopeful that they can do it in Bloemfontein. There will be help for them in this wicket and I think they will learn from their previous mistakes. It’d be better if they can do it quickly,” the 30-year old concluded.