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Shakib: Our batsmen are upto the challenge

  • Published at 06:14 pm July 4th, 2018
  • Last updated at 06:19 pm July 4th, 2018
West Indies' Shannon Gabriel bowls during training in Antigua Tuesday Windies

The West Indies pacemen should not be a worry for visiting Bangladesh team as the two sides prepare to face each other in the first of two Test matches, believes Tigers captain Shakib al Hasan.

The Tigers, touring the Caribbean for the first time since 2014, will lock horns with the home side in the first Test, starting Wednesday at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua.

Shakib, who is making a return as Test captain after seven years, said his side have prepared well keeping in mind the pace-friendly conditions.

Newly appointed Bangladesh head coach Steve Rhodes echoed the same sentiment and both Shakib and Steve are relying on the preparation taken by the Tigers both at home and in the Caribbean over the past week or so.

However, doubts still remain, given Bangladesh’s performance in their last series, against Afghanistan.

Discussions were doing the rounds as to how the Bangladesh batsmen would tackle the threat posed by the world-class Afghan spin attack.

Prior to the Afghanistan T20Is, Shakib and the others exhibited confidence but the results were horrifying as the Tigers were whitewashed 3-0 in their maiden bilateral series against the Afghans. 

The Windies Test squad is currently powered by the pacers, led by Shannon Gabriel.

Right-arm pacer Gabriel was pivotal as the Windies bowling attack produced a brilliant performance against Sri Lanka, despite the three-Test series eventually ending 1-1.

"We watched the series on TV. It was a very competitive series. Both the teams did really well. But it is a new series for them now and an important one for us and we are looking forward to it," said Shakib to the media in Antigua Tuesday.

"The wicket, I think there is lot more grass than we get to see on the Caribbean wickets but I think our batsmen are up for the challenge. I think this wicket will have good pace and carry and hopefully we can adapt to the conditions. We all saw the Test series against Sri Lanka. We know what their attack is, they have some quality bowlers and we have to be at our best to be able to face them," the all-rounder added. 

Steve was under no illusions that the Antigua wicket will favour the Windies but the English coach informed that they have prepared accordingly.

"Well I think they will favour the West Indies team at the moment. The pitch is green and bouncy, probably alien to what Bangladesh players are used to. But you know we have known for a while what to expect. We saw the Sri Lanka series and the wickets. We (have) prepared accordingly and we are looking forward to the challenges,” said the former wicketkeeper-batsman.

When queried as to what message he has sent to his charges before the game, he said, "They are not deaf. They watch the videos, they watch the highlights. You get to see everything on the internet now. So they are very prepared and know what to do. They are very experienced in international cricket, and Test matches. So they know what to expect and how to play. My role is to support that and make sure practice side of things are well equipped to go into a game."

In their last tour of the West Indies, the Tigers were blanked in both the Test and ODI series while the lone T20I got abandoned due to rain.