dd Four questions for Bangladesh

Four questions for Bangladesh

Published: 14 Nov 2019 Updated: 14 Nov 2019   

Online Desk

Bangladesh are playing a Test series against India with gaps the size of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal in their squad. Mominul Haque has said he is missing "three players" because he feels Shakib is two players in one. But against the No 1 Test side in the world, and without two of their main players, the rest of the Bangladesh side must step up or they risk perishing quickly.

ESPNcricinfo looks at how prepared Bangladesh are ahead of the first Test in Indore.

Can the batsmen show stickability?

The batting line-up will revolve around Mominul, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, but less experienced players such as Shadman Islam, Liton Das and Mohammad Mithun must also play a role. Mominul pointed out in his pre-match press conference that all of them had played first-class cricket coming into the India tour, but questions still remain about the form of a number of batsmen in red-ball cricket.

The one-off Test against Afghanistan in Chattogram in September ripped open many frailties in this batting line-up. One of the biggest problems is the inability of the batsmen to spend time in the middle. In the absence of Shakib and Tamim, the senior batsmen have to take charge, but so does everyone else. Even someone like Saif Hassan, a candidate for a Test debut, has to bring his longer-version quality of leaving the ball well, into the picture.

The likes of Mahmudullah, Liton and Mithun cannot throw away their wickets after good starts, since Bangladesh don't have any genuine allrounders to balance out their batting line-up.

Are the pace bowlers undercooked?

Abu Jayed played two Tests in New Zealand at the start of the year, and created numerous chances, but he hasn't had the best of times in first-class cricket since then, going wicketless in two games for Bangladesh A and not looking his usual wicket-taking self for Sylhet Division in the National Cricket League.

Al-Amin Hossain has only played two first-class matches in the last 11 months, while Mustafizur Rahman has played one Test and one other first-class match this year. Ebadot Hossain, the quickest of the lot, hasn't hit his stride this year either.

The preparedness of the fast bowlers, therefore, is a big worry for Bangladesh going into the Indore Test. Part of the reason for this problem is that fast bowling is almost ignored by the team management in home Tests, and by the selectors when they pick the Bangladesh A squads.

Who will keep wickets?

Mushfiqur said in an interview last month that he has informed coach Russell Domingo of his decision not to keep wickets in Tests. Liton then becomes the first choice, and given that the batting line-up is without Shakib and Tamim, he will bat at No 7.

Liton isn't in great form but in his Test career so far, he has fared better with the bat when he has played as designated wicketkeeper. Mithun is another wicketkeeping choice but he would only come into the picture if Bangladesh are looking to play five bowlers.

How will the spinners cope without Shakib?

Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam will be Mominul's go-to bowlers in nearly every situation, whether he needs a strike bowler or someone to hold one up or even to try something new.

Mehidy has a little more to prove after losing his place in the T20I side and having to play first-class matches for Bangladesh A. Taijul can expect to bowl long spells but he is used to the workload. The spinners' biggest difficulty will be to adjust to life without Shakib at the other end. Shakib provided the strongest support with his accuracy, which gave Mehidy and Taijul a bit of breathing space. In this game, even if Bangladesh pick the offspinner Nayeem Hasan as a third spinner, Mehidy and Taijul have to look, act and bowl like senior bowlers.


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