Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Mirpur January 25, 2014

Shakib wants sporting Mirpur pitch


Shakib Al Hasan wants a sporting pitch at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in the first Test against Sri Lanka. He said Bangladesh are now capable of handling such conditions, and not just playing on featherbeds.

The home side has never won a Test match in Mirpur. They have lost eight times and drawn twice, both against New Zealand. The pitch has tended to be on the slower side over the last three years, with bowlers getting less assistance as the match progresses. This has been true for both seamers and spinners, with the playing surface not prone to deteriorating.

Shakib said that an even contest between bat and ball would help the home side.

"In my opinion, sporting wickets are good," Shakib said. "Sri Lanka are not the sort of team who play spin poorly or don't have spinners. Sporting wickets give good value to runs and wickets. We are an experienced side, and have played well as a team and individually. I think we can handle a sporting wicket.

"Our bowling attack is good, but a lot will depend on the wicket. It becomes difficult to bowl on a flat wicket. But I believe that if it is a sporting wicket, we have the ability as a bowling unit."

Shakib has asked the pace bowlers and the newcomers in the side to step up, saying they have a role to play if the team is to win. "Everyone has to contribute," he said. "Even if someone takes a five-wicket haul, the others have to take a wicket each, at least. The fast bowlers have a big role to play; they have to take up responsibility. The spinners will continue to bowl according to their ability.

"Our team is not selected but among the batsmen, Marshall [Ayub] has played a few Tests, Shamsur Rahman is new while Imrul Kayes has played Tests in the past. It is not as if they are new so they have any less of a responsibility. The best 14 players in Bangladesh are in this team. They have all performed, and deserve a place. We can win very few matches if we have only one or two performers."

Bangladesh will try to break up the day into small sessions, according to Shakib, who said they would chase a positive result at all times rather than look to draw. In 2013, they lost two Tests, won one and drew three.

"We always play to win," Shakib said. "The days of Bangladesh playing a match just to do well or to draw are long gone. We have to divide it into small sessions, if we do well in those, we can get a good result overall.

"Bangladesh played well against Sri Lanka on the last occasion. We will have some home advantage. We have played well at home in the last two years, so if we can continue on that, we can shorten the difference between the two sides."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ZCF on January 26, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    @HatersAreOrdinary I would like to respond but I'm struggling to understand what exactly you're trying to say, and how what you say has anything to do with my post. The only connection I get is reference to Tamim regarding results unexpected by every Bangladesh. Except his was a case of a message lost in translation, a bit like you in this instance, only a little bit more tougher to decipher, or even exploit for the purposes of deliberate misinterpretation like Tamim.

    Anyway, all the best against SL. I think a lot of top new & peaking talent will be on show. Mathews&Chandimal for SL - can they be part of a replacement to the big 4? For BD - Monimul&Gazi. Sometimes we overlook that Mushfiqur&Tamim are still just 25 odd, and Sakib not that much older. Contrast with poor SL who are scared stiff to consider leaving out or resting Mahela&Kumar plus other over-thirties, just as they were when selecting the side to tour Zim(after they pushed&beat PAK in both Tests) if it wasn't cancelled.

  • Chris on January 25, 2014, 23:48 GMT

    The only thing Mirpur ground has is the reasonable good bounce and carry. It hardly ever seams, swings and very little turn. Can't see much changing to be honest and could quite easily be a run feast for both sides.

  • Subterraneo on January 25, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    At present, only SA can win Tests consistently both inside and outside the subcontinent. Last year, home teams lost only two or three Tests (including two by Zimbabwe, who also won two home Tests) to illustrate the point. That way, most high-performing batsmen at home struggle outside their limited comfort zone (country or subcontinent) and it is difficult to gauge a batsman's capabilities based on a single location.

    As for BD, since the revamp in domestic cricket in 2012, the team performance at home has escalated significantly, resulting in multiple 500+ scores, individual centuries (and one double-century) and, most importantly, drawn matches and series. Compared to 2011, this shows improvement in batting which had handicapped the team's competitiveness. Nonetheless, acid test of visit by Zimbabwe awaits. Tours abroad will be bigger tests - ODI's aside, they have done well enough to draw in two formats in their only tour outside the sub-continent. The next tour will tell more.

  • Jay on January 25, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    @ZCFoutkast then i think you are truly immature man. nobody in the world can be certain of the future. and no cricketer in the world can go out in the field and say i am going to score a century today. the thing is certain means we will but not like over confident you know, that would show arrogance n undermine sri lankan attacks. even in 2005 when bd were a circus team in test australia were almomst loosing the game bcz they said bd is ordinary team. same thing happened with shehwag n tamim too when he called vitori an ordinary bowler. human being doesnt suit being so arrogant. god has a part to play.

  • Shipu on January 25, 2014, 20:35 GMT

    Hopefully it will be a sporting pitch because our bowlers have no chance on flat decks to take 20 wickets. Finally Shakib will be playing for once because he wasn't part of that Sri Lanka tour last year and will clearly strengthen the team. I'm personally eager to see how Mominul Haque would fare because he has scored those back to back 100s against New Zealand who have a much better pace attack than Sri Lanka but then again, Sri Lanka have a far superior spin attack in Herath and Mendis. Lankans will be a test for him especially against Herath.

    My 11 - Tamim, Shamsur, Marshall, Mominul, Rahim, Shakib, Nasir, Mahmudullah, Gazi, Robiul and Al-Amin.

    I put Shakib at 6th because we need him more for the bowling and needs that extra rest time. He has been unusually aggressive with the bat anyway so no point of him at 5.

  • ZCF on January 25, 2014, 18:46 GMT

    "I think we can handle a sporting wicket." - A certain @Kriterion had me fooled for a long time about BD's progress. Not even star player Sakib is certain! ODIs aside, it's pretty clear that minus unsporting wickets we've seen very little progress in BD's Test side, not that it's easily discernible as it is. If they were preparing sporting pitches like Zimbabwe, then we'd have been treated to thrilling home series we've seen when they hosted PAK&NZ lately.

    Preparing unsporting wickets has truly worked against these boys, so we don't know just how good their batsmen really are despite isolated positive signs. When they've toured to ZIM and lost, the margins and manner of deafeat indicated an inferior side, thoroughly beaten to embarassing proportions. Strangely each time the BCB, players and fans were surprised!

    This move will go a long way towards readying these boys for the game, but not for long as Test cricket in it's existing form is being unavoidably fast tracked into oblivion!

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Mushfiqur rightly says so... After building infrastructures, stadiums, first class cricket competitions, age based teams, hosting ICC tournaments when an emerging nation starts to win ODI matches home and abroad (where as many established teams still find winning difficult outside the country) and drawing the test matches , all of a sudden ICC thinking of forcing this emerging nation to play in the continental cup to increase the level of that continental cup........but they are denying the fact that they are destroying the dream of this new cricket nation, destroying the cricket future....and we are so disappointed to see that all the cricket greats are silent in this issue, some are talking but only in favour of their country ......It seems that it is safer and easier to deny the future of cricket of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe... so no one bothers....but ICC should know millions of Bangladeshis are disturbed with this draft proposal.

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    Just prove yourself and show the cricket world and give them a strong answer by performing best in the upcoming match.Just do it

  • Prbath on January 25, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    @Syed Adlou, you got to be kidding mate, Tell me which of your spinners in top 10 among the ICC rankings? how many of your spinners won test matches for Bangladeh in last 10 years? how many your spinners taken 200 wickets? oh forgotten your spinners are better than Warne and Murali too lol

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2014, 15:40 GMT

    Thanks Shakib for opening up about the pitches bangladesh play on at home. We want to pitches that take sharp turn and if the current curators cannot provide this then i think we need new ones. I think Bangladesh spinners are better than what SL have but Herath is honestly an amazing bowler.

  • No featured comments at the moment.