Spin set to dominate as Bangladesh and Afghanistan prepare for maiden Test showdown

Waseem Ahmed 16:48 04/09/2019
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Bangladesh have adopted a spin-heavy approach.

Bangladesh and Afghanistan are set for their maiden red-ball meeting as the two sides get ready to lock horns in a one-off Test at Chattogram which gets underway on Friday.

Bangladesh turned heads when they named a spin-heavy bowling attack for the Test with as many as five spinners including skipper Shakib Al Hasan included in the 15-man squad. Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain and Nayeem Hasan are the four other spinners in the Bangladesh squad while only three pacers have been picked overall.

Some have questioned the hosts’ spin heavy approach for the one-off Test but Shakib is having none of it.

“We don’t criticise England and Australia for picking four seamers and no spinners,” Shakib stated on the eve of the Chattogram Test.

“So, I am not too bothered about it. We will try to win with one, two or three seamers, but we must stick to our plan.

“Whenever our spinners have got their preferred type of pitches, they have done well at home. Having said that, they (Afghanistan) also have quality spinners. I feel the batting of both teams will make the difference.”

For Afghanistan, it will be their third Test meeting since they gained full ICC membership along with Ireland last year. They were beaten comprehensively by India in their maiden clash in the format before they beat Ireland in a one-off Test at Dehradun earlier this year in March.

It will be the first Test in charge as skipper for Rashid Khan and the ace leg-spinner wants his side to learn quickly in the format instead of concentrating on results.

“We are new in this format,” Rashid stated.

“We cannot be expected to beat Australia in our third or fourth game. I think over time we will get better, like we saw Bangladesh beating Australia. Once we get everything right, we can beat other teams.

“But experience-wise, you need to play more matches in this format. We have the experience and knowledge of ODIs and T20Is, but it takes time in Test cricket. The quicker we learn, the better we will become.”

The 20-year-old was last month appointed as Afghanistan skipper across all three formats following the team’s disastrous 2019 World Cup campaign where they failed to win a single match.

The Afghanistan captaincy has been a mess in recent times with the board initially appointing three different skippers for the various formats. It was Rahmat Shah who was initially slated to lead the Test side but the World Cup disaster led the Afghanistan Cricket Board to appoint Rashid instead in all three formats.

Despite the frequent captaincy changes, Rashid will not allow the pressure of the job to affect his game.

“Captaincy won’t be a burden on me,” he said.

“Senior cricketers like Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan are always helping me. I won’t put myself under extra pressure.

“I am focused fully on my bowling, and I don’t know who is the captain. I will try to keep enjoying what I do, be relaxed and as cool as possible. If I take pressure, it will affect my performance and put my team under pressure too.”

Afghanistan are not a part of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship and the one-off clash against Bangladesh will not have any bearing on the tournament for either side.

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