In a bid to revive Bangladesh’s Test form ahead of ICC Test Championship, Bangladesh will lock horns against Afghanistan in a solitary Test match in Chattogram today (Thursday). The match is scheduled to begin at 10 in the morning. This will be Tigers first Test match after the terror hit Test series in New Zealand. Bangladesh will look to start afresh in Test format ahead of ICC Test Championship.
So far 2019, haven’t offered Tigers much to cherish. After a dismal World Cup campaign, they were clean swept by Sri Lanka in ODI series and have a couple of their key players missing as they go into this match. Stalwart opener Tamim Iqbal is on a sabbatical and will not be available for this match. Pacer Mustafizur Rahman has not yet recovered from his back injury and has been replaced by Taskin Ahmed.
However, the good news is, Tigers Test skipper and ace all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan, who enjoyed a stellar World Cup campaign will be available and Tigers will look to shrug off any negative vibe under his belt. This match will also mark a new era in Bangladesh cricket as two new South African coaches, Russell Domingo (Head coach) and Charl Langeveldt (Pace bowling coach) are at the helm. It will be interesting to see whether we see any sort of change in Tigers approach to the match under this new coaching setup.
The battle on field will also be between skipper Shakib and his Afghan counterpart Rashid Khan, who has been recently named as Afghanistan skipper. It will be Rashid’s first match as Test skipper and the war-torn country’s third ever Test match. Shakib’s spectacular World Cup has made him one of the game’s major global stars - if he wasn’t already - and now he is tasked with reviving the fortunes of the team after an indifferent few months. Rashid has somewhat emulated Shakib in terms of becoming his team’s main man, winning them games with the ball as well as becoming a competent lower-order hitter and terrific fielder.
However, the match will go beyond the fight between this duo. In Tamim’s absence a lot will depend on how the other experience campaigners with the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib and Mahmudullah Riyad bat in the middle-order, while Liton Das and Mominul Haque would no doubt need to step up. We may see Soumya Sarkar open with Shadman Islam, while Abu Jayed Rahi could be the lone pace bowler.
It is likely to be a spin friendly wicket at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram and therefore it plays in Afghanistan’s hand as their roster is filled with top-notch spinners. Alongside skipper Rashid Khan, they have another leg spinner in Qais Ahmed and new spin sensation Zahir Khan, who performed brilliantly and picked a fifer during the warm up match against BCB XI.
Therefore, the main battle will be between Tigers batsmen and Afghan spinners. The match will be won and lost there. Only time will tell which team will prevail.