CHITTAGONG: Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque urged his teammates to ignore the criticism and focus on the job ahead ahead of the home test series against Pakistan which begins on Friday.
The hosts kick off the new round of the Test Championship with the two-game series against Pakistan from Chittagong, having never beaten the visitors at home or away.
The series follows a series of Twenty20 internationals, with Bangladesh losing eight straight games. Five World Cup losses were followed by a three-to-zero home shutout by Pakistan’s semi-finalists.
“This is not the first time that Bangladesh has gone through such a phase. We have also overcome such periods before,” said Test captain Mominul, who was not part of the Twenty20 squad.
“People have become mentally weak (…) because they pay attention to what is being said. My job is to bring concentration back. You cannot stop anyone from speaking. So it is better to keep your ears closed”, he said Thursday.
In addition to their woes, star player Shakib Al Hasan, drummer Tamim Iqbal and fit all-rounder Taskin Ahmed will all miss the first test due to injury.
Mominul said it would be a “challenge” to lead a young Bangladeshi team against a strong Pakistani team.
“We have always needed senior players on the testing side,” he said.
“But it’s an ongoing process. We have to move forward. We can’t be disappointed all the time. I firmly believe this is a huge opportunity for young players,” he said.
Pakistani captain Babar Azam has insisted his team will not take the hosts lightly in their home conditions.
“It looks like a typical Bangladeshi pitch which will help the spinners. So we are aware of the conditions,” he said.
Pakistan announced their 12-man squad for the opening test, which included uncapped batsman Abdullah Shafique.
Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam and Imam-ul-Haq were also part of the 12-man squad.
“I can’t score points all the time so other batsmen will have to take responsibility. It’s an important WTC test so we have to be at our best,” Babar said.
Pakistan played 10 tests against Bangladesh and won nine.
The only draw came in 2015 when Tamim scored a first double cent in the Test in an opening record 312 points with Imrul Kayes in the second round in Khulna, southern Bangladesh.
The second test will start in Dhaka on December 4. – AFP