Wickets in Bangladesh have traditionally been flat and full of runs. It was an aspect that was seen during the New Zealand series in Chittagong and in Dhaka as well, with both matches ending as tame draws.
It was therefore no surprise when ace allrounder Shakib Al Hasan stressed on the importance of playing on a sporting wicket ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka, due to start tomorrow at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
“Our bowling attack is good. But it still depends on the wicket. No matter how good a bowling attack is, if it's a flat wicket it will be difficult. I believe that if we get a sporting wicket, we have the ability to pick up 20 wickets,” Shakib said while speaking to reporters at Mirpur yesterday.
While the left-hander expects home advantage to play its part in the series, he does not necessarily want a turning pitch to support Bangladesh's spin-heavy bowling department.
“I think a sporting wicket is what we need. Both teams are from the sub-continent. If we make a spinning wicket, it's not like they don't have good batsman who can play well against spin. So I think, overall if there's a sporting wicket, it will be good,” said Shakib, adding that the fast bowlers would have an important role to play in the series.
Speaking on the balance of the team, the left-hander stated that the team was yet to be 'set'. Going by his words, it seems as though Imrul Kayes, the uncapped Shamsur Rahman and Marshall Ayub will contest for the number two and three positions.
The visitors are fresh from a 1-1 Test draw against Pakistan, whereas Bangladesh will return to the Test arena after three months. Shakib however feels that there will not be much of a difference between the two teams.
“The last time we played in Sri Lanka, we did very well. Now that we are playing at home we have an advantage. We played some good cricket in the last two years, if we continue, I don't think there will be a difference,” he said.
The team's confidence was perhaps best reflected in Shakib's reply to a very conventional question. When asked if Bangladesh would play to win or merely draw the series the 26-year-old said, “We always get on the ground to win. To play for draws or merely play well, those days are now far behind. We will play to win. The entire team is thinking that way.”