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Tigers face tough Test against Pakistan today

Hosts kick off new Test Championship cycle with the series

November 26, 2021 00:00:00

Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam during a practice session ahead of their first Test match against Pakistan at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Thursday — BCB

Bangladesh's struggling cricket team are battling injuries ahead of the formidable challenge of hosting Pakistan for a two-Test series beginning today (Friday) at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram, reports AFP.

Star players Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal are sidelined, added to a lack of confidence in the camp after losing eight straight Twenty20 internationals, meaning Pakistan will start as overwhelming favourites.

The visitors completed a clean sweep 3-0 in the preceding Twenty20 series but will be without leading spinner Yasir Shah, who has been nursing a thumb injury since September.

The leg-spinner has been a key bowler for Pakistan since 2014, taking 235 wickets in 46 Tests.

All-rounder Shakib suffered a hamstring injury against the West Indies in Sharjah last month that ended his T20 World Cup, but he had been included in the Test squad in the hope that he would regain his fitness.

Bangladesh he job at hand ahead of the Test series at home against Pakistan.

The hosts kick off the new Test Championship cycle with the two-match series against Pakistan starting in Chattogram, having never beaten the visitors either at home or away.

The series follows a dismal run in Twenty20 internationals, with Bangladesh losing eight consecutive matches. Five losses at the World Cup were followed by a three-nil whitewash at home by semi-finalists Pakistan.

"This is not the first time Bangladesh have gone through such a phase. We have overcome such times before too," said Test captain Mominul, who was not part of Twenty20 side.

"People got mentally weak... because they pay attention to what is being said. My job is to bring back focus. You cannot stop anyone from talking. So it's better to keep your ears closed," he said on Thursday.

Adding to their woes, star player Shakib Al Hasan, batsman Tamim Iqbal and an in-form all-rounder Taskin Ahmed, will all miss the first Test due to injury.

Mominul said it would be a "challenge" to lead a young Bangladesh side against a strong Pakistan team.

"We have always required senior players in the Test side," he said.

"But it is a continuous process. We have to move on. We cannot be disappointed all the time. I firmly believe it is a huge opportunity for the younger players," he said.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam insisted his team will not take the hosts lightly in their home conditions.

"This looks a typical Bangladeshi pitch which will help spinners. So, we are aware of the conditions," he said.

Pakistan announced their 12-man squad for the opening Test, which included uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafique.

Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam and Imam-ul-Haq also made the 12-man squad.

"I cannot score runs all the time, so other batsmen will have to take responsibility. This is an important WTC Tests, so we need to be at our best," Babar said.

Pakistan have played 10 Tests against Bangladesh, winning nine.

The only draw came in 2015 when Tamim scored a maiden Test double hundred in a record 312-run opening stand with Imrul Kayes in the second innings in Bangladesh's southern city of Khulna.

The second Test will start in Dhaka on December 04.

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