After hosting Zimbabwe and almost becoming the first side to concede an away Test series to them in seventeen years, it’s now Bangladesh’s turn to face a Windies side that will be looking at their upcoming Test series to regain some long-lost confidence.
It wasn’t an impressive last outing for the Windies, who were largely dominated in all three formats. They went down 2-0 in the Test series, 3-1 in the ODI series and 3-0 in the T20Is.
However there were a few bright spots, particularly the form of Roston Chase who scored a century and a fifty in the Tests. There’s also the fact that the team has the an advantage as far as adapting to slow and low pitches in Bangladesh after spending an extended amount of time in India in similar conditions.
The touring party will largely be the same, comprising of the likes of Shai Hope, Sunil Ambris, Shimron Hetmyer and Kieran Powell.
They will be ready for the challenge of facing Taijul Islam and Mehidy Hasan after spending an entire series facing the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
Regular captain Jason Holder will be a big win for Windies. He has been sidelined from the series due to a shoulder injury. While he undergoes a rehabilitation programme in Barbados, Kraigg Brathwaite will stand in as captain.
On the other hand, Bangladesh’s inspirational captain Shakib-al-Hasan is still a doubt with the decision on his inclusion likely to be taken before the toss.
“We know how challenging it is to play a five-day match. So still there is confusion whether I have reached that level (to play),” Shakib told reporters in Chittagong.
“I have trained only in four sessions. Among them, two sessions were optional. Let’s see, I may have to wait till the end.”
As a result, specially in the bowling department, Taijul Islam will be required to carry on his stellar form from the series against Zimbabwe, where he was named player of the series for his three consecutive five-wicket hauls.
Taijul Islam too took an important five wicket haul in the second innings of the second Test to save Bangladesh from a series loss. As far as the bowling department goes, Bangladesh seem to have things in order.
It is the batting, though, which is a bit of a concern for the home side. The top order has hardly replicated their limited overs form, and with uncapped opener Sadman Islam having been included in the Test squad after good performances in practice games, the pressure is firmly on Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar to give Bangladesh the kind of opening partnerships on the bedrock of which big Test scores are made.
Kayes and Liton Das (who has now been axed) put up only one fifty plus partnership in the two-Test series against Zimbabwe.
Windies will be boosted by the fact that the Bangladesh batsmen were routinely tested by Zimbabwean fast bowlers in the previous series, which will have Keemo Paul and Kemar Roach licking their lips. On the other hand, Mustafizur Rahman and Khaled Ahmed did not do enough on their part and their relative inability to bring in reverse swing later on in the innings means that contributing with the new ball becomes even more important.
Conservative bowling lines outside off stump will have to be replaced with aggressive lines that make the batsmen play, if Bangladesh are to give themselves a chance of picking up early wickets.
If the tour matches are any indication, Windies are increasingly becoming more comfortable encountering spinning conditions. The likes of Shai Hope and Rovman Powell have gotten their eye in with scores of 88 and 72 respectively in their last two-day practice match against the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI.
After a tough series against India, this series presents a chance for Windies to get back to winning ways in international cricket. For Bangladesh, nothing less than a series victory will be expected by a cricket loving nation to further cement their identity as a team which has truly ‘arrived’ on the international scene.
The Windies though, are not likely to give the home team as much leeway as their last visitors did.
The first Test will take place from November 22 in Chittagong.
Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Mohammad Mithun, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim, Ariful Haque, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Naeem Hasan
Windies: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Shermon Lewis, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican