BD seek to open World Test Championship account against WI

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CHITTAGONG: Bang­ladesh will look to get their first points in the inaugural World Test Championship when they take on the West Indies in a two-Test series starting on Wednesday, captain Mominul Haque said on Tuesday.

The Tigers will take to the field against the West Indies in the port city of Chittagong in their first Test in almost a year.

It will be Bangladesh’s first home Test in the World Test Championship, a competition where they have yet to secure any points.

“Since we are returning [to Test cricket], it gives us another opportunity to start afresh,” Mominul told reporters at a virtual press conference.

“Every team is favourite on their home turf. That doesn’t mean we are considering the West Indies as a weak team. We are concentrating on ourselves and we will try to give our best.”

Meanwhile, Mominul believes the return of ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan gives them an edge against a depleted West Indies in the series opener.

Shakib plays his first Test since September 2019 following a two-year ban one year suspended by the ICC in October 2019 for failing to report approaches from a bookmaker.

He goes into the Tests with good form after being named man of the ODI series against the West Indies last month.

Mominul called him a “two in one player.

“Such a player is a gem for any team,” Mominul said. “He can serve in both batting and bowling but, more importantly, his return helps us for a balanced team combination.

Shakib, who averages 39.40 with the bat and 31.12 with the ball in tests, suffered a groin injury in the third and final ODI on Jan 25 but coach Russell Domingo was confident he will play.

“Shakib is very difficult to replace in any format, Domingo said. We are pretty confident that he will be ready for the first test. He has worked really hard on his rehab. He has bowled a few balls, hit a few balls. Not feeling too much discomfort.”

With Shakib back, Mominul expects Bangladesh to finally win a match in the World Test Championship after three defeats to India and Pakistan, all by an innings. Shakib missed those matches, plus Bangladesh’s last Test last February, an innings win against Zimbabwe.

In their last Test series against the West Indies at home in 2018, Bangladesh won 2-0.

The visitors are missing several key players, including regular captain Jason Holder, who opted not to travel due to coronavirus fears.

Unlike Bangladesh, the West Indies have played two Test series against England and New Zealand in the past eight months.

But West Indies coach Phil Simmons said late Monday the international outings would not be an advantage for his team.

“I think Bangladesh will always have edge no matter who they are playing at home, even though they haven’t played cricket for a year. They are a very strong side when they play at home,” he said.

“You can have a lack of international cricket, but you will be training properly. It takes away the rust, which is only a mental thing. It will go away after the first couple of hours of the first day.”

The second Test will be held in Dhaka from Feb 11-15.

Teams (from):

BANGLADESH: Mominul Haque (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Saif Hassan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Shadman Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain, Hasan Mahmud

WEST INDIES: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer, Jomel Warrican.