Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Galle March 7, 2013

Mushfiqur hopeful of Tamim playing

Bangladesh's captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, is hopeful that opener Tamim Iqbal will play the Galle Test despite pain in his right hand. Tamim's presence will bolster a top order that has had to be restructured after injuries to Shahriar Nafees and Naeem Islam, and the uncertainty over Tamim's opening partner in the last two years.

Thursday's nets session was restricted by rain though, meaning the Bangladesh team management could not get an extended look at how the pain might affect his batting. "Tamim had an injury during the Bangladesh Premier League but hopefully he will be fit for the Test," Mushfiqur said. "He is not 100% fit yet, but hopefully he will come good and play for us." The team would have another look at where Tamim stands during practice on the morning of the Test, he said.

Tamim has played through pain on previous occasions, most famously at Lord's and in Manchester in 2010, scoring centuries in both Tests. But the team would also be mindful of his value at the top of the batting order, and will hope his playing doesn't cause him any longer-term harm.

Despite his inclusion, Bangladesh wouldn't be guaranteed a strong batting performance if the batsmen who are strong at playing spin do not counter the threat of Rangana Herath. Mushfiqur acknowledged the importance of dealing with Herath: "The wicket will be good to bat on for the first two days, and then the ball will spin. We have that in the back of our minds. We have some good players of spin, and if they can show their potential, it will be a good Test series. He [Herath] is one of the leading wicket-takers for Sri Lanka in last two years. He is also their main bowler in the attack. We have played left-arm spinners but he is a different type of bowler, so hopefully we will take up the challenge against him."

Mushfiqur has given Mohammad Ashraful the task of batting at No. 3, a position that has not been secured by any of the five batsmen who have batted there since Habibul Bashar's retirement five years ago. Mushfiqur said: "Ashraful will continue at No. 3, as he has done in the practice match. We need his experience and skills.

"No. 3 is the best position, and it is for the team's best player. If you take a look at other No. 3s around the world, they have great records. We lack in this area, but whoever plays at No. 3 will take the opportunity." Mushfiqur was also open to the idea of having Mahmudullah batting up the order.

There is no extra pressure on the team in the absence of the injured Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur said. "We have played without Shakib for parts of the series against West Indies, so nothing much has changed. I think a bit of pressure can be a good thing, and I am confident we, as a team, can handle it."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SAIFUR RAHMAN DURJOY on March 8, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    @ ILoveMyBangladesh ......are u kidding me ?? Shahdat is a better test bowler than Abul....May be you require a little bit more time with cricket..

  • khondokar on March 7, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    Batting looks very good for Bangladesh. But bowling is a real concern...i am shocked to see Abul Hasan as the first choice over Shahadat...have seen him bowling in WI tests..never looked a test bowler. I am not sure what performance in the domestic circuit made him the first choice in the test team?????

  • Sumon on March 7, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Skeptically wishing a great revival of Ahraful's career. Come on man. Score some big runs. You got nothing to lose. On the other hand, really worried about BD bowling.

  • anand on March 7, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Sure they have a great team, anamul,tamim ,ashraful,mahmudullah,nasir,mushfiqur,marshall,gazi,sunny,shahadat,robiul is a great team.They are fighters.But they need to show what really they can do.Surwly they will win or atleast draw .

  • shahadat on March 7, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    so is bangladesh playing their A team against SL: already shakib, nafees, enam jr, naeem are out, now tamim. so 5 out of 11 are not playing.

  • Mike on March 7, 2013, 16:35 GMT

    If Tamim is not fit then this IX - Anamul, Marshall, Ashraful, Rahim, Mominul, Nasir, Riyad, Gazi, Abul, Sunny and Rubel. But this line-up looks way too inexperience and can't see them even getting a draw.

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    I think tamim will play. if not then Jahurul will be perfect option for the test. good wishes for you boys!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 7, 2013, 15:37 GMT

    BOOM BOOM TAMIM! hope you`ll boom the Sri Lanka`s bowlers.And your awesome fielding too. We are missing Shakib but we trust you. Wish you all the best and remember we are with you...

  • Shipu on March 7, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    Its only pain common, Tamim had good rest for weeks leading up to this series including during the BPL late stages where he missed playing the last few games for his franchise. Its not like he has broken bones but if it is a 'serious' concern then he should skip the first test but it certainly doesn't give BD much chance now if he misses out.

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