Bangladesh head coach Russell Domingo said fast-bowling spearhead Taskin Ahmed will not play the first Test match against India, starting at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium from Wednesday, as he is still recovering from a back injury.
Taskin had also missed the first two ODIs against India at Dhaka due to the same injury. “We are not going to risk Taskin in the first Test. He has come off a layoff and a few injections. To get him to bowl for a day-and-a-half in these conditions in Chattogram may not be good for him,” he said in the pre-match press conference.
Another injury concern for Bangladesh has been captain Shakib Al Hasan, who had to go to a hospital for a check-up of his ribs. “Look we are still assessing him and we would make a call later this afternoon to make sure he is okay. He is still struggling with his ribs and shoulders a little bit. Hopefully, he can go on hitting some balls and go see how he is doing this afternoon,” added Domingo.
With Tamim Iqbal out of the series due to injury, uncapped top-order batter Zakir Hasan is likely to open with Mahmudul Hasan Joy. Zakir earned a maiden call-up to the Test team after his 173 saved Bangladesh ‘A’ in a four-day match against India ‘A’ last month. He was also the top run-scorer in first-class competition in Bang’adesh’s ongoing domestic season.
“I have been very excited by him (Zakir). He has good energy. I know he has done well domestically; he has played a T20I for Bangladesh. I like the way he looks to score when he bats. A little Tamim-like in the way he bats. Nice and positive. Hopefully, he can get off to a good, quick start tomorrow,” stated Domingo.
Bangladesh will be playing Test matches in 2022 after a gap of six months. After the historic win over New Zealand in Mount Maunganui, they have lost six out of seven Tests where their batters have struggled to click as a unit as well as individually. Domingo feels that the biggest challenge for Joy, batter Mominul Haque and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam would be to find their groove quickly in Test cricket.
“Mominul and Joy last played international cricket six months ago. That’s the challenge with one-format players. Shakib and Litton (Das) are playing week in, week out. It is not a big step up for them.”
“But Mominul and Joy are looking good, the way they are playing. I know the currency runs, but technically they are looking pretty good. Joy has got a lot of starts, so it is just about finding that tempo and get the big score.”
Najmul Hossain Shanto, who was one of the stars in the Mount Maunganui Test win, has struggled to get runs consistently. But Domingo is keeping faith in him to come good in the Tests against India.
“He showed good signs in Tests maybe a year and a half ago. He scored two centuries including one against Sri Lanka. It is tough for young players in the top order. Joy and Zakir are not natural openers. They prefer batting at No. 3 or No. 4. We have to be patient with these young players at this level.”
“Batting one, two and three is probably the hardest job in international cricket. Hopefully, they repay the faith, and give the coaches and selectors something to hang on to.”