One-off Test: Bangladesh look to rise from doldrums against Zimbabwe
After suffering six consecutive defeats in Test cricket, Bangladesh are eyeing an opportunity to end the drought as they face struggling Zimbabwe in a one-off Test starting Saturday at Sher-e- Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Right before this Test, Bangladesh faced Pakistan in Rawalpindi in the first Test of the two-match series and endured an innings defeat after a record-breaking hat-trick by Naseem Shah.
However, Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo said in the pre-match press conference that they are eager to win this game. At the same time, he said creating Test-playing culture within the playing group is one of his biggest missions now.
“Winning is of paramount importance but we do need to develop a Test culture within the playing group,” Domingo told the media in the pre-match press-conference on Friday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
“I am going into this Test as a coach more confident that any other Test because we have been together for 4-5 days. I have never had a Test match where we flew into a place, practice a day and played a Test. The next schedule in Pakistan: we will fly in, play a one-dayer, practice and then play a Test match. No serious Test team has scheduling like that, and we have to change that. It is a cultural thing. We have to pay a lot more attention to Tests. I have been impressed with this group of players. There seems to be a big desire to do well in the Test arena,” Bangladesh coach added.
Bangladesh might go to play this match with two pace bowlers as the head coach hinted. However, Mustafizur Rahman will not be a part of the playing XI in this Test. Bangladesh head coach confirmed that Mustafizur was recalled to the national Test squad only for making a chance for him to be closer to the new bowling coach Ottis Gibson. Domingo reckons Mustafizur has to rethink some technical issues to be able to play Test cricket again.
“I don’t think he is ready for Tests until he does some technical work so that it allows him to swing the ball back into the right-hander. Getting him back into the squad is the start of that process that he can spend some times with our new bowling coach. He was put back into the squad not to play, but to train and get some shape back. To get a connection with Ottis, develop a bit of trust and relationship. He will stay with the team. Mustafiz is not playing this Test match,” Domingo told the media.
Test captain Mominul Haque also said the Tigers will take the field keeping a win in mind. It will be only the fourth Test under the captaincy of Mominul, whose leadership has come in for scathing criticism from board president Nazmul Hasan Papon.
“When we play, we play to win whether the opponent is Zimbabwe or Australia. If you ask about pressure, I would say the pressure is always there when you play cricket in the international arena. So we have no problem to handle pressure, we are thinking this way. The preparation over the last three-four days was great and we are desperately waiting to play a good brand of cricket,” Mominul said ahead of the match.
Bangladesh Test captain expressed his happiness for getting the service of Mushfiqur Rahim back after one Test. Mominul said: “Mushfiq bhai came back to the national side. It’s a relief for me as a captain. His inclusion is really good for me, and it has boosted my confidence up.”
Before this Test, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe faced each other in 16 Tests, in which Bangladesh won six and lost seven matches while the other three matches ended in a draw. Two of those have been played at Sher-e-Bangla, with the hosts winning both.
Probable playing XIs:
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed Rahi and Ebadot Hossain.
Zimbabwe: Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza, Craig Ervine (capt), Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva (wk), Timycen Maruma, Carl Mumba, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Donald Tiripano, Victor Nyauchi.