BANGLADESH TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND, 2019
“We know the conditions won’t be favourable and there will be swing all around. We need to be mentally strong to perform in such conditions.” © Getty
Mahmudullah, who will be leading an inexperienced Bangladesh side against New Zealand in the first Test, is hoping that the youngsters will make their opportunities count.
With Shakib Al Hasan out due to a finger injury and Mushfiqur Rahim ruled out of the opening Test due to wrist trouble, Mahmudullah says it is an opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their talent and ability at the highest level.
“He [Mushfiqur] is getting better. But perhaps we are not getting him in the first match,” said Mahmudullah. “Along with Mushfiqur, Shakib Al Hasan also has been an integral part of our team. It is really tough to set our best combination without them. I hope who are getting chances to replace them will perform well and grab those chances.”
In pace-friendly conditions, the onus will be on the fast bowlers to lead Bangladesh’s charge. However, with Mustafizur being the most experienced pacer in the side, gives enough indication of the rawness in the unit. Abu Jayed has played only three Tests and Khaled Ahmed has featured in one, while Ebadat Hossain is yet to make his Test debut.
However, Mahmudullah has pinned his hopes on the youngsters and said, “Rahi [Abu Jayed] is our premier fast bowler. He has played some matches and performed well too. We have Ebadat Hossain, a new talent, who can bowl at a great pace. And we also have Mustafizur. Everyone has ideas about his capabilities. Now our main focus is to execute our plan in the middle.”
He is also is hoping Mustafizur Rahman will lead the young pace attack as the visitors aim to give a tough competition to New Zealand in the five-dayers.
“Everyone knows the class of Mustafizur, and to be honest, 27 wickets in 12 Tests does not reflect his capabilities,” Mahmudullah told reporters ahead of the opening Test against New Zealand on Wednesday. “He is eager to perform and we are looking forward to it.”
Bangladesh, who are yet to win a Test against New Zealand, will play a three-match Test series against them, beginning in Hamilton from February 28. However, Mahmudullah said that they are not taking into account their past overseas performance, which has been dull compared to their better showings at home in recent years.
“How we are performing in overseas conditions is always a challenge for us. Everyone doubts whether we can win an overseas Test or not,” he said. “But I can assure you, as a captain and on players’ behalf, we are not thinking on that line. We will take inspiration from the recent past and motivate ourselves. We want to play according to our strengths, the way they [New Zealand] are performing.
“We know how the conditions are, and we also have ideas about their bowlers. But how we are going to execute our plans depends on us. We know the conditions won’t be favourable and there will be swing all around. We need to be mentally strong to perform in such conditions.”