Hathurusinghe indicates two debuts for Bangladesh in 1st Test

Musfik Hasan and Nahid Rana

A green-top wicket will come to anyone’s notice as soon as entering Sylhet International Stadium. Add with it the overcast condition prevailing over the last few days in Sylhet. This wicket and condition would make any team play a pacer-heavy squad. So is the planning of Bangladesh for the first Test of the two-Test series against Sri Lanka to be started from Friday.

Despite injury problems and fatigue due to the tight schedule of international cricket, Bangladesh want to field a pacer-rich squad for the first Test. In that case, two young fast bowlers – Musfik Hasan and Nahid Rana – are likely to make their debut in the first Test. Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusinghe gave such indications in the pre-match press conference today, Thursday.

Apart from them, the left-hand pacer Shariful Islam and Khaled Hasan are also in the Test squad. However, Shariful has been rested after the ODI series due to fatigue of playing continuously for a long time. He is scheduled to join the team this evening. As the inform bowler didn’t practise ahead of the first Test, it is almost a certainty that he wouldn’t play the first Test.

Asked about him, head coach Hathurusinghe said, “Shariful is doing good. He has played a lot of white-ball cricket. So we rested him. He doesn’t need to bowl as he has already bowled a lot. He is already ready to play.”

Asked how many pacers could be taken, Hathurusinghe said, “Three or two pacers from the squad might be taken.”  

About uncapped Musfik Hasan and Nahid Rana, Hathurusinghe said, “Both are potential players of Bangladesh cricket. Both can bowl at above 140 kilometer speed. We have seen how fast they can be. Both are young and powerful. Both started their first class career well. Yes, I’m excited. I see the possibility of one of them or both playing the match.

Hathurusinghe also talked about Sylhet’s condition.

“Wicket is a bit different from the New Zealand series (last November). The wicket was not so grassy like this time. Weather will also play a role. Considering the opponent and condition, the challenge seems steeper in this Test. The New Zealand series too was challenging. We’ll have to play our best to defeat them.”

Mushfiqur Rahim was in the team in that historic Test against New Zealand. The experienced campaigner has been ruled out of the Test as he sustained a finger injury in the last ODI.

Hathurusinghe rued in-form Mushfiqur's absence, but was in favour of looking forward to the potential of young players.

“We will miss Mushfiqur’s experience as it is always difficult to fill the void of such a seasoned player.  At the same time, we’ll have to support the young players. Hridoy has joined the team. Two young batters—Dipu and Salman—have also joined the team. This is a thrilling time for Bangladesh cricket. I would ask them to make best use of the chance.”