Bangladesh’s captain Mominul Haque has said they are going to rely on the pace bowling attack more in the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.
Mominul appeared in the pre-series press conference virtually on Tuesday afternoon before the squad was announced. It is an unusual practice for a Test captain to face the media before an event without knowing which team he will lead.
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Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) previously announced a 21-member preliminary squad for this series. After the pre-event press conference, BCB announced a 15-member squad for the first Test including uncapped pacer Shoriful Islam who played only eight First-class matches and grabbed 22 wickets.
In the last five years, Bangladesh won only one overseas Test which was against Sri Lanka in 2017. Bangladesh captain said they are confident to replicate that performance in this series and to do that, they are relying more on the pace attack.
“We'll field a pacer-dominated bowling attack in this Test,” Mominul said in the pre-series virtual press conference. “I don’t think it'll reduce our chance to win the match. We've a reliable pace bowling attack consisting of experienced and new guys.
“The bowlers who proved themselves earlier— like Abu Jayed, Eabadot (Hossain) and Taksin (Ahmed)-- will get a chance in this series. Apart from them, Shoriful and other new pacers are also reliable.”
It has been more than eight years since a Bangladeshi pacer recorded a five-wicket haul in Tests— Robiul Islam bagged five for 85 against Zimbabwe in Harare in April 2013. After that, no Bangladesh pacer was able to win a Test for the team.
Bangladesh included Shohidul Islam and Mukidul Islam in the preliminary squad, who impressed in the first two rounds of the National Cricket League (NCL) which is on hold due to Covid-19 outbreak. However, they were not considered for the first Test.
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Most of the members of the 15-strong squad came to this series without playing a longer version game after the home series against the Caribbean at home. However, the other members, including captain Mominul, played two matches in the NCL.
Despite their lean show in overseas Tests for a long time, Mominul said they feel no pressure ahead of a new series outside their home backyard.
The Bangladesh captain said: “We're not under any pressure. We came here to play and win. We know that we failed to do well in the last two Tests at home. Despite that, we're confident of doing well in this series. We just have to focus on our game and play well in every session of the game.
“We had a bad tour in New Zealand where we played six matches and lost all of them. But the condition is different here in Sri Lanka— it’s similar to Bangladesh. So we're confident of playing a good brand of cricket.”
Bangladesh will miss the service of Shakib Al Hasan in this series as he is busy playing Indian Premier League (IPL) for Kolkata Knight Riders. Along with him, pacer Mustafizur Rahman is also out of the Test set-up as he is also playing IPL.
“Shakib is crucial for every team. He is the number one all-rounder. It’s tough for us to set up a combination without him. We'll surely miss his service. But I think it’s a good chance for the guys who'll get in to replace him to do well and prove their mettle,” Mominul said.
Both matches of this series will take place at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Bangladesh squad for the first Test: Mominul Haque (Captain), Litton Das, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Shadman Islam, Abu Jayed Rahi, Taijul Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mehidy Hassan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Saif Hassan, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Shoriful Islam.