Skipper: Bangladesh will depend on spinners vs. NZ
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh has loaded up with spinners to try and beat New Zealand in the opening match of a two-test cricket series on a refurbished pitch at Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Because the pitch is expected to be low and slow, Bangladesh has accommodated three specialist spinners and a part-timer in its 14-man squad for the first test beginning on Wednesday.
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim is confident spinners will find some extra advantage from the untested pitch, as the last game played here was in December 2011.
It means the prospects are brighter for Shakib Al Hasan, Sohag Gazi and Abdur Razzak, who has been recalled after two years out, while part-time spinner Mahmudullah could also play a leading role in trying to set up Bangladesh’s first win over the Black Caps.
“We want to ensure a good team combination, but we will definitely put emphasis on spinners,” Rahim said on Tuesday. “I think spinners will make some difference.”
Rahim said “our challenge is to do better first than (beating) New Zealand” as they were eager to up their ranking from 10th, the bottom of the test rankings, one below Zimbabwe. New Zealand stands eighth.
Bangladesh slipped to the bottom after it lost eight of its 11 matches, with just one win in the past three years.
New Zealand has suffered 10 defeats in its past 16 tests, and its lone win in the period came against Sri Lanka in Colombo in November 2012.
“We want to play session by session, we need to play consistent cricket,” Rahim said.
Both teams practiced on Tuesday under sunny skies after days of rain and gloomy weather. By late afternoon, however, the rain returned and the pitch was covered.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said it was important for them to start the series well.
Mentioning their 4-0 loss to Bangladesh in a 2010 one-day series, he said, “We still know the danger that the Bangladesh team poses, and we have got to make sure we start this series well and make sure that we have a successful campaign.
“Obviously, the last time it was a pretty tough tour for us. It was not as good as it should have been. We were caught on the hop by a very good Bangladesh team in their own conditions. We are trying to mitigate that through our preparation.”
McCullum said the pitch looks dry and they could play their second spinner, meaning legspinner Ish Sodhi could make his test debut.
“He is an exceptional talent. He is still very raw as a player ... but I think he has got some very good skills,” he said.
“If he does get a chance in this test match, the rest of the world will obviously see what he possesses.”
New Zealand is touring without star allrounder Daniel Vettori, who underwent surgery on a troubled Achilles tendon.
After the tests, the teams will play three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 over the next month.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Mahmudullah, Anamul Haque, Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Naeem Islam, Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Mominul Haque, Marshall Ayub, Robiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling, Tom Latham, Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Mark Gillespie, Ish Sodhi, Bruce Martin.