“We are favourites, but West Indies can pose big challenge”

Bangladesh Test captain Mominul Haque insisted that the Tigers are favourites to win the two-match Test series starting from Tuesday in Chattogram, but he also said the West Indies have the ability to pose a big challenge despite missing some of their key men.

It’ll be Bangladesh’s first Test amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They played their last Test back in early last year against Zimbabwe at home.

Before this series, Bangladesh took on the West Indies in a three-match ODIs which they have won 3-0 without facing off any tough challenge from the tourists. The Caribbeans had to offer ODI caps to 10 new players in the ODI series, but they have got a comparatively experienced side for the Tests.

“We are back to play Tests after a year of hiatus posed by the Covid-19. It’s a new chance for us to start playing Test from the scratch. I’m taking it as a new chance for us. There are always some challenges when you come to play international cricket. So we have to play as a team,” Mominul told the media in a pre-series virtual press conference.

“Obviously, they are (a stronger side in Tests). But I think every team who takes part in international cricket are challenging to face. If a team fields all U-19 players in the national team, they will also pose a challenge because there is more expectation at this level. So I see them as a new challenge, instead of thinking if they are strong or not,” Bangladesh captain added.

Mominul led the Tigers in four Tests so far and won only one of them while losing the others. He led the Tigers in Pakistan and India without having any luck. He missed the service of Shakib Al Hasan in Pakistan while both Shakib and Tamim Iqbal were out of the India series.

But this time around, Mominul is all set to have the full-strength Bangladesh side to take on the West Indies. He said the inclusion of Shakib along with Tamim and others made them favourite against the touring West Indies.

“I think Shakib is two-in-one. He made it easy to set the right combination in our Test team. Be it bowling or batting, Shakib is best among us. As a young captain, it’s a blessing to have him on my side. I hope he will make it to the playing XI in both Tests,” Mominul said about Shakib’s return to Test cricket after serving a one-year-long ban imposed by the ICC.

This series will be Bangladesh’s third attempt to earn some points for the World Test Championship. Mominul told that the team is well-prepared to win this series against the Caribbeans.

Bangladesh won four Tests against West Indies out of 16 they played. Tigers came up victorious in the last series 2-0, which might place them in a good mental state ahead of a new series.

Bangladesh included two uncapped players for this series- Hasan Mahmud and Yasir Ali. While Hasan, a tall-figured right-arm pacer, proved his ability over the last two years to do well at the higher level of the game, Yasir has also been doing well for the last few years.

The second Test of the series will take place in Dhaka from February 11.

Bangladesh squad:

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

West Indies:

Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), 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