Shakib-led Tigers keen to usher a new era in Test cricket
Leaving the recent Test failures behind them, Bangladesh are determined to get them back on track when they take on West Indies in the first of two-match Test series tomorrow at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
The match starts at 8 PM as per Bangladesh Time but to the disappointment of Bangladesh fans, the match will not televise live anywhere apart from West Indies.
Whatever it is, the Test team is keen to usher in a new era, led by Shakib Al Hasan, who was appointed as captain after Mominul Haque stepped down following a poor batting form.
Shakib’s willingness to take over the captaincy gave Bangladesh a new hope to revive the country’s Test cricket in which they time and again proved them extremely vulnerable. They so far played 132 Tests, since their elevation to the cricket’s elite format in 2000 and won just 16.
The Tigers, as they were adorably called, lost a staggering number of 98 matches of which 45 defeats came by an innings margin. They however drew 18 Test, most of which courtesy to rain.
But as Shakib took over the captaincy for the third time and probably for the last time, there is ray of hope that his Midas Touch could rejuvenate the side in this format.
“If Shakib really wants, he can change the dynamics of Bangladesh’s Test team,” Bangladesh most successful skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza recently said in his column in a newspaper.
First time when Shakib got the captaincy in 2009 during the West Indies tour, it came due to the injury of Mashrafe Bin Mortaza who injured his knee during the first day of the first Test. Shakib led the side from the front as Bangladesh created history by whitewashing the West Indies in two-match series.
Shakib was then stripped off the captaincy in 2011 but back to the helm again in 2018 against West Indies at home series. Under his captaincy, Bangladesh won the series by 2-0 for the first time after that historical 2009 series. That remains Bangladesh’s last Test series win against West Indies.
Now it is to see whether Shakib’s return as captain again against this familiar opponent changes Bangladesh’s luck.
Bangladesh overall played 18 Tests against West Indies and won four. They lost 12 matches and drew two.
The Tigers indeed need a touch of luck after a disastrous outing, under Mominul Haque who actually was given captaincy hurriedly after Shakib was banned in 2019 by ICC following his failure to report the corrupt approaches from the bookies.
Bangladesh got a memorable victory against New Zealand under Mominul but they lost some matches which they should have won. Most of the matches under his captaincy, Bangladesh lost from a winning position.
The situation got worsened when Mominul failed to motivate the side even with his batting. His lean batting streak currently extended to seventh straight single digit figure and if the last 15 innings was taken into consideration, he failed to get past double digit score for 12 times.
Shakib’s first task will be to instill the confidence, which was lost after recurring failures.
“Shakib is the only one who can make Bangladesh a force to reckon with in Test cricket,” Mashrafe wrote. “Someone like Shakib should do the captaincy if we want to do well in Test cricket because the whole world knows his ability.”
While Shakib’s captaincy hogged the limelight, Bangladesh actually has a reason to be worried after Yasir Ali, who was considered as the replacement of Mushfiqur Rahim was sidelined due to injury. His absence created a gap in the middle order position.
Mushfiqur’s absence for performing holy Hajj is a big loss for Bangladesh, considering that he was in form alongside Liton Das in a batting line up whose top order batters tend to misfire in almost every game. Recently in the last two Tests against Bangladesh lost four/five wickets before crossing 25 runs mark, which according to head coach Russell Domingo cost Bangladesh the Test match.
It will be the first job of Shakib -Domingo pair to repair as they want to usher a new Test era.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Liton Das, Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mehidy Hassan Miraz, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Mustafizur Rahman and Nurul Hasan Sohan.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Joshua Da Silva, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas.