Bangladesh will have little time to reflect on the just-concluded T20I series, where they put up a fight but eventually lost 2-1. The Tigers arrived at Indore yesterday where they will begin their World Test Championship campaign with the first Test against top-ranked India from November 14. The transition from the shortest format to the longest format will be a difficult challenge especially without the boost that a T20I series win would have provided.
Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Al-Amin Hossain -- members of both the T20I and Test squads -- will have to make that transition pretty quickly. With newly-appointed captain Mominul Haque set to lead for the first time in the two-Test series, the series carries extra significance for Bangladesh after Test and T20I captain Shakib Al Hasan was banned from all forms of cricket by the ICC for two years for failing to report corrupt approaches from a bookie.
If that scenario in itself was not a worry for the Tigers ahead of facing India, the lack of a practice match ahead of the series will be of particular concern to Mominul and his men. It is usually a norm for visiting sides to play practice matches in the lead-up to a key series, but such has been the congested nature of Bangladesh’s tour of India that it was difficult to arrange a practice match, even a two-day fixture, under the current schedule.
Asked about the absence of practice matches during the T20I series, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo told this reporter: “Definitely would have liked a practice match ahead of the Tests.”
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had requested before the series for practice matches to help the Test squad gel, but the jam-packed schedule did not allow for it.
“We couldn’t get it [practice match] before the India series. We tried,” BCB President Nazmul Hassan commented about the absence of practice match on November 10, following the end of the third T20I in Nagpur. “Even the India officials I had sat down with today, did not imagine that the series [T20] against Bangladesh would be this competitive.”
After the Indore Test comes the Kolkata Test, which will be both country’s first experience of a day-night Test with a pink ball, which tends to swing more under lights. Bangladesh’s lack of experience with day-night Tests and the fact that they will not have a chance to prepare for it with a warm-up was already playing on the team management’s mind.
“It would have been good if there was a two-day warm-up match before the pink-ball Test. When I was in charge of South Africa, we played a two-day warm-up match ahead of the Adelaide [pink-ball] Test. But like us, India will be facing the same challenge so we have to accept it,” Domingo said after arriving in Delhi before the first T20.
With India’s pace options, the challenge will be more difficult for the Tigers than for India. For now though, Mominul and Co will have to be content with what will be on offer at the Indore Test, which comes first.