Sakib expects challenge from Afghans

Bangladesh all-rounder Sakib al Hasan (L) shares some thoughts with coach Russell Domingo during a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Monday. — BCB photo

The forthcoming one-off Test series against Afghanistan will be a challenging one for Bangladesh, and the hosts will have to play their best cricket to tackle the novice Test playing nation, said the Tiger’s Test skipper Sakib al Hasan

‘The way Afghanistan have improved it will be a challenge for us to play against them in any format,’ the all-rounder told reporters at programme late on Sunday.

‘They have number of quality players who can be dangerous for us. We have to play very good cricket and play well as a team. We won’t be able to win matches with 1-2 individual performances. We have to play well as a team,’ he added.

Though Bangladesh’s overall track record in the five-day format is quite dismal, the Tigers have had an improved performance in Test matches at home in recent times, clean sweeping West Indies 2-0 last year and drawing Test series’ against Australia and England in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

All their recent success in Tests came in spin-friendly pitches with their spinners doing the bulk of the damage and winning them the matches.

But against Afghanistan, the same strategy could backfire as they possess a very potent spin bowling attack, led by their skipper Rashid Khan.

Sakib wasn’t forthright about their expectations from the pitch as he didn’t want to disclose the team strategy but emphasised on performing better than the Afghans no matter the pitch condition to win the match.

‘No matter what the wicket is we have to play better than them as a team. Whoever plays better will win.

‘There is a matter of getting the wicket that we want. But it’s better to keep it between the management and players. There is no need to say it around to everyone. It’s a matter of team plan. It’s better that the information not to get out,’ Sakib said.

After gaining their Test status in 2017, Afghanistan have only played two Tests, which meant their players are still new to the longest format of the game.

Sakib admitted that the Tigers were more experienced but was quick to point out that the Afghan players have the capability to carry their good performance from the shorter formats in Tests and were a genuine threat for Bangladesh.

‘In terms of experience we will be ahead… You can’t deny that they are proven players in shorter formats. As they have been successful in shorter formats, there is no reason for them not to be successful in Tests,’ he said.

Bangladesh are yet to announce a squad for the Test match and will most likely give it by August 30-31, said selector Habibul Bashar.

‘We have had preliminary discussions about the team selection with the skipper and coach… We are taking a little extra time because this is a home series. Most probably announce the squad on 30th or 31st August,’ Bashar said.


Source: New Age.


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