Shakib braced to be Bangladesh's main man

Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh’s main wicket-taking threat going into the first Test © AFP

Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan has said that getting used to the workload of a Test match will be his main challenge going into first Test against England at Chittagong on Thursday.

Although Bangladesh have named four spinners in their 14-man squad, Shakib – with 147 wickets in 42 Tests – is by far and away the most experienced member of a quartet that also includes Taijul Islam, Shuvagata Hom and the uncapped Mehedi Hasan.

Taijul did claim the remarkable figures of 8 for 39 to defeat Zimbabwe at Dhaka in 2014, but he managed a solitary scalpin his two most recent Tests against India and South Africa last year. Shuvagata hasn’t convinced in his seven Tests, picking up eight wickets at a bowling average of 59.12; Mehedi is also an offspinner, and has taken 41 first-class wickets at 23.48 but is completely unproven at Test level. Meanwhile, the two-man seam attack has one rookie in Kamrul Islam Rabbi.

The thin look puts much pressure on Shakib, who has bowled marathon spells in Tests ever since Mohammad Rafique retired in 2008. He will also be a vital source of runs in Bangladesh’s middle-order.

“I think I will find out about my confidence when I get into the Test,” Shakib said. “We are trying to be best prepared for the game. We haven’t played a Test for a long time and I don’t even remember the last time I played a longer-version match. So this is going to be a little difficult for me. To be honest, there isn’t much to prepare for, since a lot of it is the mentality going into a Test match.”

Since their last Test in July last year Bangladesh have played 27 international matches but also had to go through a pause of ten months between November 2015 and September this year to play ODIs. Shakib said that it took Bangladesh some time to get used the ODIs as well, despite their success in the format in 2015.

“We have also played ODIs after nearly a year and it took us two-three matches to get into the groove. It is different to bat or bowl for a longer period, which in itself is a challenge,” he said.

Shakib said that their bowling attack has the ability to bowl out a side twice in a Test match, provided they get some help from the pitch. “A lot will depend on the wicket. We usually try to play on flat surfaces in home conditions so that our batsmen can score runs.

“If the conditions favour our spinners and pacers, I think they have the ability to take 20 wickets. But it won’t happen on a flat wicket,” said Shakib.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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