Amid all the tensions surrounding the Cricket in Pakistan and Bangladesh Cricket team not willing to travel Pakistan for a full-fledged series, we will finally witness first of the two test-matches scheduled. As the second test is scheduled to be played in April, the first is about to begin today in Rawalpindi.
Bangladesh would be buoyed by the return of veteran opener Tamim Iqbal into the Test set-up. The southpaw missed the Test series versus India due to the birth of his child. He also took a break from the game after a rather disappointing show in the 2019 World Cup. Tamim, Mominul Haque, the skipper, Mahmudullah and Soumya Sarkar, who returns to the Test side, would be expected to shore up the batting line-up, especially in the absence of Mushfiqur Rahim.
Russell Domingo, the newly-appointed Bangladesh head coach, also noted that it is time for the side to script a turnaround in their fortunes away from home in the longest format. “We have to win Tests, and outside of Bangladesh. If we are realistic, the chance of winning the World Test Championship is not good. We are ranked No. 10 in Tests. But we really want to win a series outside Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh have also looked to ring in changes in their bowling department with Mustafizur Rahman dropped from the set-up and Rubel Hossain earning a recall. Abu Jayed, Al-Amin-Hossain and Eabadat Hossain toiled hard in the two-match series in India, but they seemed to be missing an X-factor in the pace department.
Pakistan, the hosts, posted a morale-boosting, come-from-behind Test win versus Sri Lanka in Karachi in December last year. On a track with a smattering of grass, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah bowled incisive spells to pilot the home side to victory. Naseem’s five-for in the second innings, where he bowled with pace and control, would have pleased the Pakistan camp. Pakistan will depend on the in-form Babar Azam, Azhar Ali, who returned to form with a century in the Karachi Test, the impressive Abid Ali and Asad Shafiq to make big scores.
Azhar Ali of Pakistan has won the toss and asked Bangladesh to bat first.
Squads (Playing 11):
Pakistan: Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali(c), Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan(w), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Saif Hassan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque(c), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Liton Das(w), Taijul Islam, Rubel Hossain, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain
When: February 7, 10:30 AM IST, 10:00 AM Local
Where: Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi