The red-ball saga will continue when the Bangla Tigers will take on Afghanistan in a one-off Test match. It will be a mouth-watering contest between two Asian teams full of exciting talents. Whats makes the battle more interesting is the fact that Afghanistan will be playing their 3rd Test match in their cricketing history. Moreover, it will be the first home game for the Bangladesh team in the current year when they will step on the field of Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chottogram.
The Tigers will be fresh from their one month break and they will be starting a new journey under the recently appointed head coach, Russell Domingo. Coincidentally it will be their first stop in the maiden World Test Championship cycle. As far as their red-ball form is concerned they lost a series against New Zealand early in the year. Still, they are a quality side when they play in conditions that suit their taste.
The last three months have been a nightmare for the Afghanistan cricket team. First, they fared poorly in the 2019 World Cup and then the off-field issues which just rubbed salt on their wounds. However, they have the opportunity to regain their momentum as there is no better way to start a season than a five-day game. Though they are not expected to win the match they have the artillery to surprise the seasoned campaigners.
In the absence of Tamim Iqbal, the new opening pair will be Soumya Sarkar and Liton Das. The short-statured cricketer, Mominul Haque can be a game-changer at the top. Shakib Al Hasan will be the lynchpin in the middle-order and he has an added responsibility of leading the team. He will be supported by keeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim who has been enjoying a good time in the classic format.
The veteran Mahmudullah has been going through a rough patch but he is likely to retain his place in the side because of his wealth of experience. Mosaddek Hossain might be included in the playing XI if the team opts for an all-round option. Mehidy Hasan and Taijul will be sharing the spin duties and the latter can run through sides on turning tracks. After his impressive debut in New Zealand, Abu Jayed will be charging the pace battery along with Taskin Ahmed.
Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan (C), Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain/Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Abu Jyed, Taskin Ahmed.
Insanullah Jannat and Javed Ahmadi will be facing the new-ball. They will be followed by Rahmat Shah who has a good technique to succeed at the Test level. Asghar Afghan and Hashmatullah Shahidi will make up the rest of the batting core. The latter has vast international experience and he was the captain when the team won their first Test match against Ireland. He can also bat for long periods of time.
Mohammad Nabi is a quality all-rounder and his contributions will be critical for the team to threaten their opponents. Youngster, Ikram Ali Khil will be donning the wicket-keeping gloves and he is a capable batsman down the order. Rashid Khan will be taking charge of the team. He will be the lead spinner of the team and if the surface is slow then Zahir Khan might accompany him. Yamin Ahmadzai and Shapoor Zadran will be forming the pace attack.
Insanullah Jannat, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Ali Khil (WK), Rashid Khan (C), Zahir Khan/Sayed Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Shapoor Zadran.
The focus will be on
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh)
Shakib Al Hasan is one of the decorated all-rounders’ of this generation. Time and again he has proved his match-winning capabilities. In the 2019 World Cup, he was the highest run-getter for Bangladesh but sadly he couldn’t take his side to knock-out stages. Then he was rested for the ODI series against Sri Lanka and the team suffered batting problems. Now he is back in the mix and he can be a one man army.
Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Without a doubt, it can be said that Rashid Khan is the trump card for the Asian minnows. Recently he was handed the captaincy role so he will be keen to deliver more game-changing spells. The leg-spinner has been a hot commodity in the cricketing world as his temperament separates him from the rest. He can trouble the best of the batting group with his variations. He can also play useful cameos down the order.
Head to Head
Matches played – 0
83 – Batting average recorded by Mominul Haque in Tests at Chittagong including 6 centuries
6 – Wickets taken by Yamin Ahmadzai in his last Test match against Ireland
TV – Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select HD 1
Online – Hotstar
Match Timings – 9:30 IST and 10:00 local
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