Bangladesh Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim said that they need to show character if they are to put up a fight in the Two-Test series against New Zealand with the first one starting at the Basin Reserve in Wellington from Thursday.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, who missed the all but the first match of the six-match limited overs series after picking up a hamstring injury in the opening ODI at Christchurch, also stressed the need of the batting unit to show grit and application in the demanding five-day contest.
“Our main challenge will be for our batsman to set the tone for our bowlers to fight. If we can put up enough runs on the board in both innings, it will help our bowlers to defend. And it is very important for us to score runs,” said Mushfiqur, adding that he was feeling alright at the moment but cannot rule out the recurrence of hamstring pain.
He said that Bangladesh's Test victory against England at home in October does not mean that they have become a very good team.
“The conditions we have got at home, we believe we can give a tough time to any team in the world. But an overseas series is very difficult and our goal here is that we want a start. In the Test we want to stay at the wicket for a long time and try to be competitive. Tamim scored here, Shakib scored a century, Riyad also scored a century in New Zealand. We have got good memories here,” said the captain.
He however said that they have to play as a unit, which has not been the case in the shorter version matches.
“We will have to prove ourselves as a team, which we have failed to do in the one-day and T20Is. If we contributed collectively, one or two games would have come our way. We will have to do that in the Tests, and I firmly believe we have the capability to do that. We will have to show that character. We will have to work hard session by session, which is tough but not impossible.
“As a bowling unit when you know that you have got the ability to take 20 wickets, and if there is proof of that, it is very inspiring. But these are different conditions and here the pacers will have to play the lead role instead of the spinners,” said Mushfiqur, adding that he has every faith in his five bowlers, including Soumya Sarker, having the capacity to take 20 wickets against a top team and not only against New Zealand in these conditions.
“To get a batsman out you need one good delivery and our massage to the bowlers is to bowl consistently on good line. It's not easy but that's the beauty of a Test match. You will have to work hard for five days if you are batting, bowling or fielding. And the result after that gives you maximum satisfaction,” Mushfiqur observed.
He also warned that they would not get many opportunities here like they did get at home.
“We got an opportunity in the ODIs and T20s but we could not grab that and in this condition you will not get many chances you get at home, so it will be important for us to grab chances if we want to get better results than before.”
He also did not give undue pressure on Taskin Ahmed.
“If he can play in all the three formats of the game it is a big advantage. It will be too much to demand from him and you know he did not play that much of longer version of cricket. But it's certainly the best time for him to start,” said Mushfiqur about his young fast bowler.
He lamented the absence of Mustafizur Rahman but felt that it could have been a good experience for the left-arm pace bowler.
“Fizz is an integral part of our team. Unfortunately we will miss him. It could have been a good learning curve for him if he had played both Tests here because he could have learnt something more on wickets where his cutters are at times not effective. But his fitness is above everything for us. We don't want him to get injured and out for another 5-6 months. We want to give him more time to recover,” said the key middle-order batsman.