Bangladesh are set to play first of their two matches test series against Pakistan at Rawalpindi from 6 February in the three phased cricket mission to Pakistan. They already completed the first phase of the tour of 3 matches T20 series losing the first two and third getting washed out. The third phase of a test and an ODI would happen in April.
In between Bangladesh would host Zimbabwe at home and Pakistani players will be engaged in PSL. PCB and BCB have announced their squad for the Rawalpindi test. It is after long 17 years Bangladesh will play test in Pakistan. They still have not forgotten the bitter memory of losing the last test that the played against Pakistan by the barest of margin in a controversial situation. Time has rolled on Pakistan visited Bangladesh on a couple of occasions playing tests, ODI and appeared in Asia Cup. Bangladesh for security situation did not visit Pakistan. It is great that situation has changed for the better now. International cricket is back in Pakistan.
Pakistan has a reasonably strong test team though they did not fare that well against Australia in Australia and with a bit of struggle won series 1-0 against Sri Lanka at home. Bangladesh got blown out against strong India in India (2-0). One of the two matches was the historic day night test with pink ball at historic Eden Gardens.
Mominul Haque (Captain), Tamim Iqbal, Saif Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mahmudullah, Md Mithun, Liton Das, Taijul Islam, Naeem Hasan, Ebadat Hossain, Abu Jayed Chowdhury, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Soumya Sarkar
For various reasons Bangladesh could not put together the strongest squad. Their ace all rounder and captain Shakib Al Hasanis under ICC ban from all forms of competitive cricket till October 2020 for not informing ICC about bookies trying to reach him. The leading batsman former captain Mushfiqur Rahim opted out of the Pakistan tour for domestic concern about security in Pakistan. Openers Imrul Kayes and Shadman Islam are injured. Similarly all rounder Mehedy Hasan Miraj and middle order batsman Mosaddeq Hossain are also nursing injuries. The 14 member squad also does not include Mustafizur Rahman for his uncertain form.
However, Ace Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal returns to the team after a long break. He was not playing International cricket after the Sri Lanka tour following CWC 2019 before reappearing in the T20 series against Pakistan. His opening partner in the Rawalpindi test would be young Saif Hasan who was likely to have his debut in test against India. But got injured at the last moment. BCB selectors have included flamboyant Soumya Sarkar as reserve opener. Little bird Mominul Captain of the team would bat at number three. Absence of Mushfique would obviously weaken the middle order where Mithun, Mahmuduallh and Liton have to play out of their skin to produce competitive score for letting matches extend to fourth or fifth day. The onus of batting would largely depend on Tamim setting the tone, Mominul, Mahmudullah and Liton batting sensibly. There is not much quality batting left at late middle order or in the tail to counter the quality fast and spin attack of Pakistan on the lively Rawalpindi wicket. Bangladesh pace attack comprising of Tall Ebadad, Abu Jayed and Al Amin will have stern test against top quality Pakistan batsmen. Hope Taijul and Naeem Hasan can turn the bowl well to restrict very strong Pakistan batting.
Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Bilal Asif, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Azhar Ali led Pakistan batting would be too strong against depleted Bangladesh bowling attack. In his short stay in Test Cricket Abid Ali has already broken few batting records. Hope Bangladesh can restrict his thirst for prolific scoring. Young Imam UlHaque is also a very talented batsman. We all know what talented world class batsmen are Azhar Ali and Babar Azam. Once settled both are capable of big hundreds. Shan Masood and Harris Sohel is also an aggressive batsman and veteran FawadAlam is an accumulator. Pakistan has included spinner BillalAsif for containing left arm batsmen of Bangladesh team. But the real problem would be created by Mohammad Abbas, FahimAshraf, Imran Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi if the wicket offer bounce and pace. It will also not be easy playing the leggie Yasir Shah on bouncy wicket.
Pakistan cricket is on the rise again. They have already shoot up at number one spot in T20 ranking. Tests and ODI also they have started looking better. Pakistan has already announced intention of earning full points from two matches of ICC Test Championship which will put them in good stead for their very important tour of England coming up this summer. Bangladesh on the other hand failing to put together a competitive team for various reasons have to put in their best to prove competitive. The task will not be easy at all. Bangladesh starts the series as ranked under dog.
BDST: 1215 HRS, FEB 02, 2020