After preparing inadequately for the ODI series, Bangladesh’s preparation for the upcoming Tests are also not going swimmingly due to injury worries. Although coach Steve Rhodes said that Bangladesh would want to field their best eleven, it appears that the Tigers can only line up with their best ‘possible’ eleven.
A number of key players, including captain Shakib Al Hasan, will be missing during the Test series. The all-rounder sustained a left little finger injury in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) final and missed out on the ODI series which the Tigers lost 3-0.
He was told to keep the finger immobilised for three weeks, meaning Shakib will not be able to take part in cricketing activities for another week. That obviously puts him out of the line-up for the first Test, due to start on February 28, and, taking recuperation time into account, he could miss out on the other two as well.
Another challenge is the tight schedule that will see the Tigers play three Tests in the span of 24 days. Although Rhodes said “it is not something to worry about”, given that some of the squad are carrying niggling injuries, it could be a factor as the series progresses.
“I think that 15 days’ cricket, which it could be out of 24 days, is difficult. Not many teams will play a three-Test series in 24 days,” he commented.
Mushfiqur Rahim sustained a wrist injury in the one-day practice game before a rib injury flared up in the second ODI. Later, it was revealed that he had a broken rib.
Pacer Taskin Ahmed — who was also ruled out of the ODI series, being replaced by newcomer Ebadot Hossain — and Mohammad Mithun, expected to recover from his hamstring injury before the Tests, are also injury concerns.
Soumya Sarkar has already been drafted into the Test squad after the flurry of injuries and it appears that the Tigers will have to make a team on an ad-hoc basis. However, Rhodes remained hopeful that Bangladesh could make the best of the situation.
“We are hopeful of putting 11 fit guys out there when we get around to the Test match. When you are not fit, it puts you at risk of injury,” Rhodes said.
“We got a few little niggles here but hopefully we got a great medical team and they’ll pull them through and we will put our best 11 out there. I am not sure, he’s [Mushfiqur has] got a problem with his wrist area, just above his thumb. The idea is to basically stop that moving so he has got a protection on that which will stop it from moving. We will keep it like that for three days and then we will open it up and see what sort of movement there is and how the pain is and we will take it from there. But I wouldn’t really say he is out or wouldn’t really say in. So, the answer is sorry, I don’t know.”
In this scenario, given Mushfiqur and Mithun do not make it, the visitors are left with 13 players. Three of those are spinners in Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Nayeem Hasan and Taijul Islam while the conditions are expected to be pace-friendly. If Mushy does not play, Liton will have to keep wickets. It is a real conundrum heading into the Test series.