Bangladesh will begin their World Test Championship campaign with the first Test against India at Indore today with a new Test captain at the helm in the form of Mominul Haque. Without much time to prepare for the longest format, the Tigers were intent on getting some last-minute preparation done at the Holkar Stadium yesterday.
The last few weeks ahead of the tour of India had been turbulent but Bangladesh’s first-ever T20I win against India, which came at Delhi in the first game on the tour, will give the team the drive to challenge their more experienced counterparts.
India steamrolled South Africa just recently at home and with their pace attack breathing fire, having troubled the likes of Australia and South Africa away, the task for Bangladesh’s newest captain was immensely difficult. Mominul talked of taking everything in his stride.
“I don’t think of the past or the future. I prefer to stay in the present. Since we will play two Tests here, we have a good opportunity and we are preparing very well,” the skipper said. “There is no pressure on us. There is no pressure on us to win the match. We will try to play good cricket.”
Coming off the back of a defeat in a Test to Afghanistan at home, the Tigers might be feeling apprehensive about facing India, especially with the absences of key players Shakib Al Hasan -- banned for two years from all cricket with one of that suspended for failing to report corrupt approaches -- and Tamim Iqbal.
“It’s like not having three players when you don’t have those two,” Mominul said about Shakib and Tamim. “Shakib bhai is like two players in one and Tamim bhai is not here either. It’s going to be a challenge but we can’t focus on that now. We have to play with those who are here,” he reiterated.
India skipper Virat Kohli said they were not going to take the field expecting a win.
“No guarantee we’ll win. We’ll have to play well for it. We won’t win if we just turn up. It won’t be easy. We’ve always played good cricket in Indore, but wherever you play you need to work hard and respect the game. Believe in yourself. We have good memories in this team,” Kohli, who was rested for the preceding T20I series, said yesterday.
However, he was very confident in his fast bowling line-up. The pitch is going to be lively with a bit of bounce in the wicket for the bowlers early on and pacers might dictate how the first two days pan out.
“If you ask me, we’re right at the top [as the best fast bowling attack]. I won’t even count ourselves in the [top] three. Batting was never an issue; spin was never an issue. After Zak [Zahir Khan] and all the stalwarts went away, we were thinking how we can get back to the top, have the ability and the firepower to pick 20 wickets. Just seeing the way they’ve bowled, it’s the belief that stands out - any kind of the pitch, any kind of opposition, they believe that they can get more out of the pitch than the opposition.
Bangladesh will have to face the early music of that pace attack but there is a lot more than meets the eye in this young visiting squad and they will be desperately hoping to weather the early storm as the pitch is expected to get better for batsmen as the Test progresses.