Bangladesh v Pakistan, 1st Test, Chittagong, 4th day December 12, 2011

Test form can only improve with first-class cricket - Mushfiqur

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain, has said the national team's Test performances will not improve unless first-class cricket in the country progresses. Bangladesh's loss to Pakistan in Chittagong was their 10th in 11 Tests since the start of 2010, and Mushfiqur, who is three Tests into his tenure as captain, said the trend would not be reversed until players started to do better in domestic cricket.

"We must improve our first-class infrastructure; without that we will continue with this sort of performance in Test cricket," Mushfiqur said. "We may have impressive performances in one or two matches but overall the situation will be the same as it is today."

Bangladesh's batting has let them down this year. In eight Test innings they have gone past 300 just once and none of their batsmen have managed a century. Mushfiqur said this stemmed from the inability of batsmen to get big scores in first-class cricket. No player has scored more than two centuries in this year's National Cricket League, which is currently in its second phase.

"We must make a habit of scoring hundreds or double-hundreds by playing in the first-class competition," Mushfiqur said. "Another thing we need to do is make sure all the national players are available to play in the first-class competition to ensure a high level of competitiveness. We can improve our skills only by playing in the first-class competition."

One of the criticisms of Bangladesh's batsmen has been that they are being too aggressive, and after their collapse for 135 on the first day in Chittagong, coach Stuart Law had said they had "given up their wickets easily." Mushfiqur, though, said he did not have a problem with batsmen playing aggressively, though they needed to apply themselves more.

"I think our batsmen tried to play their natural game and there was nothing wrong with that. Actually we have to show more patience, determination and the right application to prolong the innings."

Debutant Nazimuddin was Bangladesh's best batsman in Chittagong, scoring 31 and 78 in each innings. His performance and the persistence of the bowlers, who were hampered by poor fielding while conceding 594, were the positives Mushfiqur said Bangladesh could take from the game.

"Nazimuddin played well in the match. We had expectations of him and he fulfilled them. We can take inspiration from him. Our bowling was also not bad, though we dropped some catches, which helped some Pakistan batsmen to play big innings.

"We were actually out of the match when we lost five wickets in the first session of the first day. But still Nasir [Hossain] batted well in the first innings while Nazimuddin and Shakib [Al Hasan] played good knocks in the second innings." .

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