Bangladesh eyes an end to losing streak, faces Afghanistan
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh is desperate to end a widespread losing streak when it takes on Afghanistan in a one-off test match starting Thursday.
Captain Shakib Al Hasan said victory for the home side is imperative after a run of defeats.
Bangladesh lost their last two test matches to New Zealand, before the third and last match of the series was called off following a terrorist attack in two mosques in Christchurch. At the World Cup in England, a disappointing Bangladesh failed to reach the knockout stages.
It also lost the past five ODIs, including being whitewashed in a three-match home series in Sri Lanka, and lost the previous T20 series to West Indies. The Bangladesh ‘A’ side — featuring several national-team players — lost the two-match, four-day series to Afghanistan ‘A’.
“We haven’t really had a good time of late,” Shakib said. “We (the senior side) didn’t play well recently, and neither did our ‘A’ team. So if we win this game, things will start becoming normal.”
Shakib said he was not bothered about the criticism of Bangladesh’s decision to choose an all-spin tactic.
“We don’t criticize when England and Australia picked four pacers and no spinners,” he said. “We’ll do what it takes to win us the game.”
With both teams possessing quality spinners, Shakib said the batsmen will prove decisive.
“Our spinners have been doing well and they have also quality spinners,” he said. “I feel the batting of both teams will make the difference.”
Skipper Rashid Khan leads an Afghan spin attack including off spinner Mohammad Nabi, left arm spinner Zahir Khan and leg spinner Qais Ahmed.
Zahir took 5-24 in a practice game while Qais had previously tormented the Bangladesh ‘A’ batsmen.
Afghanistan is approaching the match with modest expectations.
“We are new in this format,” Rashid said. “Once we get everything right, we can beat other teams.”