Bangladesh v Pakistan, 1st Test, Khulna April 27, 2015

'Good time to play a strong team' - Hathurusingha

Chandika Hathurusingha said Bangladesh will field a debutant against Pakistan, and Soumya Sarkar is likely to be the man © AFP

For the second successive day at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna, coach Chandika Hathurusingha took Soumya Sarkar aside to the nets on the right of the two dressing rooms. Amid throwdows, there were words of encouragement when the batsman drove down the ground or met the ball properly.

Litton Das' attacking strokeplay brought him a lot of domestic runs and a senior call-up, but he wasn't among the first lot who batted in the main nets. Mohammad Shahid, who impressed the selectors and his new team-mates by bowling long spells in club cricket, operated with the new ball on both training days.

Among the three uncapped players in Bangladesh's 14-man squad, Sarkar, a top-order batsman, seems the most likely to get a Test debut. His first steps in international cricket have encouraged the selectors to pick him in the Test squad and an unbeaten 127 in the third ODI certainly helped. However, he may have to bat down the order as the team management and the selection committee are eager to keep the Tamim Iqbal-Imrul Kayes opening partnership.

Sarkar was given the responsibility to bat at No. 3 for Bangladesh in the World Cup and carried his solidity into his role as the ODI opener as well. His performance so far has been promising and he appears the best equipped of the newcomers to measure up against the likes of Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal.

Mushfiqur has been the team's most productive batsman. Shakib hasn't had a bad stretch for the last seven years. Tamim has returned to form while Mahmudullah, Mominul Haque and Rubel Hossain have reasons to be confident for the Tests against Pakistan. And Hathurusingha wants his team to harness the belief from beating Pakistan on all four matches of the tour so far.

"Pakistan have a really strong team with experienced players in their Test squad," Hathurusingha said. "They beat Australia recently, they are [ranked] No. 4. It is good for us to play a strong opposition at this stage because we are also doing well. Our expectation is to win every series. We don't take opposition for granted or overconfident. We try to do our best and if we do that, I think we have the ability to beat any team.

"It is a different format but still, when you do well you get confident. You trust your preparation. That's the confidence we are taking to the game. It doesn't mean we are overconfident.

"It is all about first session tomorrow. Our expectation is to win the series, so it is not pressure for us. That's what we are preparing for."

Hathurusingha praised Litton, Shahid and Sarkar's efforts to make it to the national team, but added that they may have to be patient to break into the XI.

"The three new guys are in the squad on merit. Few of them will get a chance immediately though the team is doing well. One thing I want to cultivate is to give a player a decent run. In that way the players have a lot of stability.

"They [the new players] have to bide their time since the team is doing well. They are all talented, from what I have seen," he said.

Hathurusingha said that they have picked a 12-man squad but didn't name the players who will be left out. "We've got three new guys. We'll narrow down our selection to 12. We will have debutant in this series."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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