Pace all-rounder Ariful Haque, batsman Mohammad Mithun and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu are the three fresh contenders for two spots in the playing eleven
Missing key members Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal due to long-term finger injuries had allowed hosts Bangladesh to try and experiment in the recently concluded ODI series against Zimbabwe. However, going into the two-match Test series with the first Test being at Sylhet International Stadium on Saturday, stand-in captain Mahmudullah informed of going into the game with the best possible eleven.
Bangladesh is likely to see two debutants from three options. Pace all-rounder Ariful Haque, batsman Mohammad Mithun and left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam Apu are the three fresh contenders for two spots in the playing eleven. Bangladesh had started with a debutant in Fazle Mahmud during the ODI series but his consecutive ducks saw an experienced Soumya Sarkar come in place of Fazle for the third ODI.
“We will play with the best possible eleven in the first game. The first game is always important. And we believe that a good start can take us far in a series. So the best eleven players will get to play the game tomorrow (Saturday). Experiments, if there are any, can be done in the second game,” said Bangladesh Test captain Mahmudullah to the media at the Sylhet International Stadium on Friday.
Mahmudullah said those members in the squad who got their maiden Test squad call-up are all deserving and thus are in the dressing room. “I think they deserve a spot in the Test squad for the way they have performed. Both Apu and Mithun are in good form. They will be able to do well in Test if they can bring that confidence into the field,” said all-rounder Mahmudullah.
Mahmudullah refrained from giving out any hints on the playing eleven and left a mystery with the combination.
“We saw the wicket this morning and will see it again tomorrow (Saturday). It is a bit dry at the moment with some patches of grass in the middle. But we cannot come to a decision right away. There are chances that we play with two pacers and two spinners or three spinners and one pacer,” Mahmudullah informed.
Mahmudullah is leading the Bangladesh Test side in place of Shakib who is recovering from a finger injury. With Tamim and Shakib missing from the fold, Mahmudullah informed of feeling the big void they have in the team.
“It is a big opportunity for those who are taking place of Tamim and Shakib and the same goes for me to be honest. We need to see how we are taking this opportunity and how eager are we to perform. We need to be up for the challenge. All the players are waiting for an opportunity and to perform well if given the opportunity,” said Mahmudullah.