Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh’s skipper, urged his teammates not too worry too much about the wicket despite being surprised himself to see unexpected amounts of grass on it. Bangladesh will approach their campaign with the aim of proving their worth against the hosts, who are placed below them in the ICC Test rankings, when they begin their tour with a two-match Test series at the Vivian Richards International Stadium at Antigua on Wednesday (July 5).
The visitors are expected to be greeted with a greenish wicket assisting bounce as the hosts will be looking at exploiting the conditions with their confident pace attack that ran riot over Sri Lanka in their just-concluded Test series.
”There is lot more grass than on normal Caribbean wickets,” Shakib said on Tuesday (July 4), ahead of the opening Test, adding that it can turn out to be a motivating factor for his teammates to showcase their skill and temperament in trying conditions. ”I think boys are up for the challenge as this wicket will have good pace and carry and hopefully we can adapt to the conditions.
”I want my teammates not too worry too much about the wicket and just try to play their natural game and that will be good enough for the team,” he added.
Shakib admitted to being well prepared despite not having played too much competitive cricket of late, and insisted of being aware of the strength of their opposition. “We watched the series against Sri Lanka and so we know what their attack is and they have some good quality bowlers and we have to be at our best to face them.
“We had a very good break obviously we haven’t played much cricket during the last two three months. But we had very good preparation back at home,” he said. ”We watched it (series against Sri Lanka) on the TV and it was a competitive one for both the teams. It is another series for us and we are looking forward to it.”
Bangladesh Test squad consists of six players who can rekindle their happy memories of their first visit to the West Indies in 2009 when they dominated the Tests and One-Day Internationals against a team that was severely depleted by a stand-off between the premier players and the regional administrators.
Shakib, who also had the first Test of captaincy during that series after Mashrafee bin Murtaza was ruled out sustaining injury, will be keen to make a similar impact as he begins his second stint as Test captain with the series. However, their last visit to the Caribbean though, in 2014, was a huge disappointment as they failed to put up any decent fight against the full-strength home side.
Windies, on the other hand, will be desperate to win the series and move back up to No.8 at the expense of their Asian opponents after dropping below the Bangladesh in the Test rankings for the first time in their cricketing history. Shakib believes they are quite acclimatised with the conditions and as things are progressing he is confident that they can make their presence felt.
”We already spent a week here so we are getting used to the climate here. Played a two day game and the practice session are going well. ‘I think the boys are prepared enough to take on the challenge,” he concluded.
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