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Dhaka Tribune

Is Bangladesh prepared enough to return to Tests?

Update : 17 Oct 2016, 08:42 PM
The new-look Bangladesh cricket team over the past two years impressed many after their successful run in the 50-over format. The Tigers adapted well in ODIs and there is now enough players in the pipeline to fill the gaps when needed. But all of a sudden, the Bangladesh think tank find themselves short of players capable of fitting into the upcoming two-match Test series against England, the format in which the Tigers are yet to prove their mettle having won only seven in 93 attempts. Bowling department perhaps has been the major area of concern for Bangladesh as there are a few injury problems going around. Paceman Mustafizur Rahman is still rehabilitating from injury while ODI captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza had to skip the longest format due to injury issues. Even young fast bowler Taskin Ahmed is considered a limited-over bowler, thanks to his injury-prone nature. The likes of Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam and Al Amin Hossain are the preferred options for head coach Chandika Hathurusingha with the new ball while there are a few names like Subashish Roy, Abu Haider, Kamrul Islam Rabbi and even rookie Ebadat Hossain who were among the probables for the Test side. Uncapped Bangladesh cricketers Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Sabbir Rahman have their eyes set on their probable Test debuts DHAKA TRIBUNEHowever, Shafiul and Kamrul are the only two pacers who have been picked for the first Test as the home side made as many six changes in the squad, naming four uncapped players. The morale of the story is that Rubel and Al Amin are relatively experienced in international cricket but not in the best of form in recent times while the others still need some time to prepare themselves for the biggest stage. This is the reason why the Bangladesh team management opted to pick only two seamers, largely resting their hopes on the spinners. And they certainly have their reasons as it was learned from sources that it will be a spin-friendly track at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium for the first Test, starting Thursday. With that said, there is another problem in that Bangladesh are yet to get a settled spin bowling partner of Shakib al Hasan, be it in limited-over or Test cricket. Taijul Islam had a brilliant start to his Test career as he picked up 36 wickets from nine Tests but then again, he played his last Test back in July 2015 against South Africa. There were also debates surrounding the inclusion of Shuvagata Hom as another specialist spin bowling option keeping in mind that the English batting line-up has quite a few left-handers in the side. Bangladesh youngster Mehedi Hasan Miraz chances his arm during a nets session DHAKA TRIBUNEOn the other hand, youngster and former Under-19 captain Mehedi Hasan Miraz got the reward for his magnificent performance in the U-19 World Cup, followed by a decent domestic season. He is the other specialist off-spinner in the Tigers squad. There were talks of including a leg-spinner in the side but according to Hathurusingha, Jubair Hossain, who started his career pretty well, has been unable to improve himself and thus, faded away. If the home side are expecting to take advantage from the pitch relying on their spinners then there will be high expectations on the youngsters, who have just started their international career. At this moment, it is too much to ask from them. In that case, Shakib will have to shoulder the majority of the responsibility not only in the spin bowling department but overall. It will be a humongous task even for the most experienced player of the side. So the question remains, have the selectors or the Bangladesh Cricket Board prepared a plan to strengthen the Tigers bench, provided they are returning to Test cricket after more than a year? Only time will tell.
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