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Bangladesh ready for India’s pace-spin duet

kriralok desk:

Bangladesh Test skipper Mominul Haque has stated his team will not lose sleep over the daunting prospect of playing India in their home conditions and is instead relishing the opportunity to measure their worth against the top-ranked team in the format. Bangladesh begin their ICC Test Championship sojourn with the hardest possible away challenge exacerbated by recent upheavals at the board level which resulted in Mominul being thrust captaincy.

On the eve of the first Test in Indore, the 28-year-old said the lukewarm expectations from his side to upset the apple-cart will also bring the added benefit of starting the series without ‘pressure’. “I think the positive thing [about this Test series] is that it is an opportunity. When you are playing with the number one side of the world who are very strong in all the three departments, if you do well it will create an opportunity for you. Actually we don’t have that much pressure or expectation that we have to win. We will try to play our best cricket,” he said.

Bangladesh are coming off an embarrassing loss at home to Afghanistan while India achieved a unique feat in their dismantling of South Africa with their seamers outperforming spinners offering further validation of their tag of being the world’s best. Those statistics were not lost on Mominul, whose side is bracing for trial by both spin and pace.

“I always try to think about present, not about past or future. India is such a team that they can give you a challenge in different ways. You can’t say they only challenged South Africa with spin bowling only. Maybe they will challenge us with spin attack. We are ready to face both spin and pace attack challenge from India. Definitely it will be a tough challenge for us. But we are preparing to face it,” Mominul said.

If Bangladesh are to upset India, they’ll have to do it the hard way without Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. Mominul acknowledged the suspension-enforced absence of Shakib as missing two separate players but refused to buy into the argument that his team might be short on practice against the red ball.

“I don’t think there is any lack of preparation. If you look into our squad then you will see eight of the players have played quite a few four-day games recently. I have played eight to ten four-day games in last five-six months. Every player was among matches recently so I don’t think it will be a big problem,” Mominul said.

“Yes, it will be challenging [because of the absence of Shakib and Tamim], but there is no scope of thinking about it too much now. Shakib bhai is equal to two players. So absence of Shakib bhai and Tamim bhai will be like missing three players. We have to move away. I think due to their absence, everyone is more focused as we missing like three key players in playing eleven. In that sense I think everyone will play with extra responsibility,” he said.

On a personal front, Mominul believes the sudden takeover of captaincy duties too will have taken off the pressure factor, allowing him to perform his role as a frontline batsman just as he did while playing under other captains. “Since I have received the captaincy duty, I am not feeling the pressure. The way I batted before captaincy, I will bat in the same way after being captain. I always try to think about the positive aspects. There are few positives in captaincy as well as your knowledge about the game will increase or you will be more responsible as a player etc. So think it will help to improve my performance or batting.

“Everyone is supporting me. Both Riyad [Mahmudullah] Bhai and Mushfiq [Rahim] Bhai are helping me, motivating me and guiding me. Everyone is motivated in the team as they are matured players. I think I don’t need to explain too much to players as a captain,” he concluded.