Tigers look to get combination right as ‘tough’ Test awaits
The Tigers go into the first Test against India today after a break of almost six months from the red-ball format. Head coach Russell Domingo admitted to the difficulty of one-format stars coming back in for Tests and straight into what he felt was a tough series, with India looking to get all available points for their World Test Championship ambitions.
Bangladesh lost six of their eight Tests this year with their only win coming at Mount Manuganui at the beginning of the year against New Zealand and a drawn Test against Sri Lanka at Chattogram.
Domingo informed Tigers will not be risking Taskin Ahmed for the first Test while hoping that Zakir Hasan, in his debut 'can get off to a good, quick start tomorrow', ending speculation on who will appear beside Mahmudul Hasan Joy in opening slot in what appears to be a flat batting track at Chattogram. Nurul Hasan Sohan was also being banked on for wicket-keeping duties, Domingo said.
There was an uncertainty regarding skipper Shakib Al Hasan's availability after he went for a scan yesterday morning during the team's training session due to stiffness. Domingo came to the press conference in Shakib's stead as the all-rounder went to the nets and batted for a bit. Domingo said the team management were 'still assessing' Shakib's situation due to struggles with 'ribs and shoulders' but the all-rounder looked his usual self during the nets session and is expected to play.
The bigger worry was the form of Mominul Haque. While the left-hander, one of the one-format stars, batted at the nets yesterday there is a chance poor form may see him fail to return to the playing eleven. Joy appeared for the A team's tour of India recently and Domingo reiterated both him and Mominul were looking good despite not being amongst runs.
"Mominul and Joy are looking good at the way they are playing. I know the currency is runs, but technically they are looking pretty good. Joy has got a lot of starts, so it is just about finding that tempo and get the big score," Domingo said.
With Taskin out, Ebadot Hossain and Khaled Ahmed are likely to make up the pacers' slot today. The dilemma would be whether to go for three spinners with Taijul Islam waiting in the wings.
"It is the difficulty for the one-format plyers, but Taijul has a fantastic attitude and desire to play for Bangladesh. When he comes back, he lifts the team by 10 per cent. He is a trump card for us in Bangladesh," Domingo said.
Domingo focused on not being able to turn the tide in close situations and while pointing out that consistency from the young side was a difficult challenge.
"We know it's a tough series, but I expect us to push India really hard in this series," he said at press conference before pointing out matches in South Africa away and Windies at home
"A lot of the games have had swings that have been really close. I think Liton Das and Taskin has been fantastic. Ebadot has stepped up. Mahmudul Hasan Joy scored a hundred in South Africa. It is just stringing these good performances together consistently, session after session that has sometimes been the challenge for us," he said knowing that an immense effort will be needed to thwart India.