The quality of cricket does not promise to be the highest but when two evenly-matched teams battle it out, chances are that the game could prove to be rather engrossing. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe have a lot to play for when they square off in a three-Test series. The hosts have gradually built a reputation of being Tigers at home while Zimbabwe (with their recent ODI win against Australia) remain capable of pulling off upsets.
Boasting of, arguably, the most passionate fans of a cricket team in recent times, Bangladesh will have a lot to look forward to. The return of Shakib Al Hasan is bound to be a tremendous boost. The all-rounder remains their best player and will have a huge role to play in the series. Skipper,Mushfiqur Rahim has been relieved off captaincy duties in ODIs and that allows him a breather as well as a chance to take Bangladesh forward in Tests. He, along with Tamim Iqbal and Shakib, will have to shoulder a lot of the batting responsibilities and will be keen to prove a point to those doubting his captaincy abilities.
Spin will be Bangladesh’s primary and most potent weapon at home and they thrive in choking opponents with relentlessly accurate spin, as do most sub-continent teams. The series also gives a chance for the hosts to try and pull off a significant win and an opportunity to gain confidence to progress forward.
Like their opponents, Zimbabwe have also gone the way of split-captaincy in international cricket.Brendan Taylor remains their batting mainstay and the skipper will be gunning to lead from the front. The presence of coach, Stephen Mangongo, has already been felt. Mangongo, in his short duration in charge, has made a name for himself as a no-nonsense coach capable of taking hard decisions. He will be pushing his boys to give better than their best for Zimbabwe are playing a three-Test series after a long while.
Zimbabwe will be drawing from the confidence of winning a Test against Pakistan a year ago but an overseas tour throws up quite a few challenges. Tackling spin, maintaining top fitness levels and remaining competitive will be high on the tourists’ agenda.
Zimbabwe have not played a three-Test series in 12 years
Our preparation coming in to the first Test has been solely focusing on spin. I am not disregarding anything else – Brendan Taylor
Bangladesh are the favourites to win the series as they are better in bowling and batting, and are playing at home – Shakib Al Hasan
|Zimbabwe (From): Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor(c), Regis Chakabva(w),Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Craig Ervine, Tendai Chatara, Tinashe Panyangara, John Nyumbu, Brian Chari, Tafadzwa Kamungozi, Shingirai Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Natsai Mushangwe, Richmond Mutumbami|
|Bangladesh (From): Tamim Iqbal, Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim(c/w), Mahmudullah, Shuvagata Hom, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Taijul Islam,Mohammad Ayub, Jubair Hossain, Shahadat Hossain, Rubel Hossain|