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Mohammad Isam in Mirpur
January 25, 2014
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 hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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