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Domingo reluctant to play ‘unfit’ Shakib

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 13th May, 2022 07:28:19 PM
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The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) has said  allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who recovered from Covid, is set to join the home team to play first Test against Sri Lanka beginning on Sunday.

Shakib has tested negative  less than a week after being tested positive.

However,  Russell Domingo, the head coach of Bangladesh, said he is not willing to include an unfit Shakib.

“Coming straight into a Test match (is tough),” he said on Friday while addressing the media in Chattogram. “We need to check his fitness and assess where he is. He has just come off Covid, and he hasn’t played much cricket. He’s obviously a big player for us, and balances the team. But we need to see how he is tomorrow. He hasn’t batted or bowled for the last two or three weeks. It is five days of cricket. It is hot (here in Chattogram). There are all sorts of things to consider.”

This series is a part of the ongoing cycle of the ICC World Test Championship where Bangladesh played six matches and won only one against New Zealand earlier this year. Bangladesh failed to impress in the previous cycle, so they are eager to prove their Test expertise in this series.

The pressure is high after their 2-0 defeat in the last series against South Africa which brought a question to the fore— Is Bangladesh’s win in New Zealand a fluke? The Bangladesh team has to come up with an answer, and the SriLanka series is a perfect chance for them.

And Shakib could play a pivotal role in this challenge, though, the head coach said: “Anybody would want a fully fit Shakib in your best XI. It is very difficult to play if he is 50-60  fit.”

If Bangladesh want to make this series a successful outing, they have to prove that they are capable enough to take all 20 wickets of Sri Lanka who are equipped with some seasoned performers like Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. Bangladesh coach said he is confident with his bowling attack.

“I just told the bowlers this morning that we got 36 wickets in two Tests in South Africa. I don’t think Bangladesh has got that many wickets (in a series),” Domingo said. “We are confident that we can take 20 wickets. We need to have five bowling options. We have been short in that particular department when Shakib doesn’t play. Someone who can bowl those 12-13 overs a day, which is so important.”

If Bangladesh has to play without Shakib in Chattogram, Mosaddek Hossian Saikat might be an alternative to the left-handed allrounder as Domingo wants someone who can bowl a few overs when the team needs.

“He is definitely in consideration to play if Shakib is not playing,” Domingo said when he was asked if he considers Mosaddek as an alternative to Shakib.

“I think we need to consider someone who can bowl. Yasir (Ali) has played some really good innings for us, but we need to find someone who can bowl 10-15 overs. I am not sure if Mominul is confident of bowling 10-15 overs. (Nazmul Hossain) Shanto is not quite there to bowl 6-7 overs a day. We need to find that person when Shakib is not there. When he is there, it’s easy. But he has not been there much.”