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Match Preview – Bangladesh vs Pakistan, Pakistan in Bangladesh 2021/22, 1st Test

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Preview

The hosts will be without Tamim, Shakib and Mahmudullah while Pakistan will be keen to carry forward their T20I form into Tests

Big Picture

Bangladesh will look to bridge the gap in experience, skills and temperament with Pakistan, who have so far looked to be in control on this tour, when the two teams meet for the first Test in Chattogram on Friday. The 3-0 series win in Dhaka didn’t just show the difference in the two teams’ T20 skillset, but also their overall moods. Pakistan seem more organised and clear in thinking while Bangladesh cricket is in disarray.

The only saving grace for the home side is the change in format, although Pakistan too would be glad to take a break after a period of busy T20 cricket.

Pakistan’s middle order has to be assertive as they struggle to put together an opening combination. Azhar Ali and captain Babar Azam lend class and experience while Mohammad Rizwan and Fawad Alam have the flair to contribute valuable runs. Babar and Rizwan’s success in opening in T20Is will need to be translated into middle-order dependency in Tests.

Imam-ul-Haq and Abid Ali will be Pakistan’s opening pair – the Abid-Imran Butt opened in their last six Tests. The 22-year-old Abdullah Shafique, who has struck two centuries in three first-class matches, is an interesting inclusion in the 12-player squad that was announced on Thursday.

Pakistan will have Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali to take up the new ball with Faheem Ashraf being considered the pace-bowling allround option at No 7. Left-arm spinner Nauman Ali and offspinner Sajid Khan, who made his debut earlier this year against Zimbabwe, will be the likely spinners.
Top-order batters Shadman Islam and Najmul Hossain Shanto have to tackle Pakistan’s new-ball force before the experienced Mominul and Mushfiqur come in. There might be a debut on the offing for both Yasir Ali and Mahmudul Hasan Joy, with Liton Das coming in at No 7. Yasir has been warming the bench for some time now after being in all the squads for the Tests this year, while Joy, who has mostly batted at No 3, was picked on the back of a promising domestic return where he hit back-to-back first-class centuries recently.

Bangladesh will mostly go with seven batters with Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz as the main spinners. Both have been in good form in domestic cricket lately and will be expected to bowl the bulk of the overs in Shakib’s absence.

However, their pace attack seems to be lean as only Abu Jayed has been in some kind of rhythm. Rejaur Rahman Raja, the surprise pick in the Test squad, could be handed a debut after getting rave reviews from high-performance bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake.

Form guide

(Last five completed matches, most recent first)
Bangladesh WLDLL
Pakistan WLWWW

In the spotlight

Pakistan will look at Shaheen Shah Afridi to lead the bowling attack and give early breakthroughs. Afridi may not find a lot of help from the Chattogram pitch which usually assists spinners, but he should use the breeze that blows across the ground.

Najmul Hossain Shanto scored two hundreds in Bangladesh’s last three Tests, against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka respectively, and also made a first-class century recently. Despite being in form, Shanto could be troubled by Pakistan’s quality fast bowlers. His role at No. 3 will be crucial for Bangladesh.

Team news

Bangladesh are considering as many as three Test debutants in this game. Mominul has hinted that Joy may open while Yasir is a strong candidate at No 6. Rookie fast bowler Raja may also play ahead of Ebadot Hossain.

Bangladesh (probable): 1 Shadman Islam 2 Mahmudul Hasan Joy, 3 Najmul Hossain Shanto, 4 Mominul Haque (capt), 5 Mushfiqur Rahim, 6 Yasir Ali, 7 Liton Das (wk), 8 Taijul Islam, 9 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 10 Abu Jayed, 11 Ebadot Hossain/Rejaur Rahman Raja

Sajid Khan could partner Nauman Ali in the spin attack, which would leave batter Shafique out of Pakistan’s XI. They are without Imran Butt, who was dropped from the squad, and Mohammad Abbas, from their last Test against West Indies.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Imam-ul-Haq, 2 Abid Ali, 3 Azhar Ali 4 Babar Azam (capt), 5 Fawad Alam, 6 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 7 Faheem Ashraf, 8 Nauman Ali, 9 Hasan Ali, 10 Shaheen Shah Afridi, 11 Sajid Khan

Pitch and conditions

West Indies successfully chased 395 runs in the fourth innings in the last Chattogram Test, which suggests that the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury pitch will generally hold up for the entire five days. Temperatures are expected to be mild.

Stats and trivia

  • Abbas is ten wickets short of completing 100 Test wickets.
  • Yasir has already taken six catches as a substitute fielder before making his international debut.
  • Quotes

    “It is a challenge for a young captain like me to head into the new WTC cycle with a young team. We have always required senior players on the Test side. Shakib bhai, Tamim bhai and Taskin are regular players. But it is a continuous process. We have to move on. We cannot be disappointed all the time. I firmly believe it is a huge opportunity for the younger players.”

    Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque on their inexperienced squad

    Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84



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    BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival

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    The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop

    Captain Nic Maddinson
    Coach David Saker

    Squad
    Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)

    In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
    Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim

    Last season

    It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
    International impact
    Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
    Player to watch
    Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.

    Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
    Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season

    Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo



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    Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series

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    The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park

    West Indies will play three ODIs and a T20I against Ireland in Jamaica from January 8 to 16, the CWI has announced, with the possibility that the standalone T20I will be used as a farewell match for Chris Gayle.

    While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.

    “It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.

    “It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”

    Ireland will travel to the Caribbean on December 31, immediately after their series against USA which starts on December 22 and comprises two T20Is and three ODIs. They have already named their squads for both tours, with Kevin O’Brien left out and David Ripley taking temporary charge as interim head coach.
    Ireland last toured the Caribbean in 2020, drawing the T20I series 1-1 and losing the ODI series 3-0. Sabina Park was also the venue for one of the finest moments in Irish cricketing history, their victory over Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup on St Patrick’s Day.

    “We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”

    Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98



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    Bangladesh tour of NZ BCB approves Shakib Al Hasan’s request to skip New Zealand tour

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    Nazmul Hassan says BCB has no problem with players wanting a break, but says it should happen via official channels

    BCB president Nazmul Hassan said on Monday that the board has accepted Shakib Al Hasan‘s leave request to skip the New Zealand tour for which Bangladesh are scheduled to leave later this week. Some days ago, Hassan claimed that Shakib only informed them “unofficially” of his reluctance to be on the tour, and hours later, Shakib reportedly had requested the board by handing over a letter officially.

    “We have accepted his request,” Hassan said. “We have been saying this for a long time that we have no objection if a player wants to take a break or rest, but it has to be informed officially. The thing is, we want to be informed about such a decision in advance as it is difficult for us if it is informed suddenly. From January, if anyone wants a break, he has to inform us in advance so that we can prepare alternatives.”

    This is the third time in 2021 that Shakib has skipped a tour for Bangladesh. He opted out of the white-ball tour of New Zealand in March due to paternity leave before missing the two Tests against Sri Lanka in April to play in the IPL.

    Hassan felt Shakib should have asked for the leave officially, rather than informing them verbally.

    “This [the confusion] is not embarrassing, to be honest. We simply didn’t know about it, officially,” Hassan said. “The thing is, these things have always happened unofficially. Now, to avoid confusion, we are emphasising that these matters should be official.”

    Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand includes two Tests, part of the World Test Championship, beginning on New Year’s Day. The team will leave on December 9 to complete quarantine and then play practice matches.



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