Bangladesh in Sri Lanka 2016-17 February 26, 2017

Mushfiqur optimistic of 'chance' against Sri Lanka

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Mushfiqur Rahim has been in good form, striking centuries in each of his last two Tests against India and New Zealand © Associated Press

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has said that his team has a chance to challenge home side Sri Lanka during the two-Test series that begins on March 7. Mushfiqur lined up a number of reasons that would be to the visitors' advantage including the lack of senior players in the Sri Lanka line-up and his side's recent form and experience.

For the first time in Tests between the two sides, Bangladesh will be facing a Sri Lanka line-up without Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan or Thilan Samaraweera. Three of these four batsmen were the heaviest scorers against Bangladesh and as a bonus, Angelo Mathews, who averages 57 against Bangladesh, will also be missing due to a hamstring injury.

"They [Sri Lanka] are without some of the players who have been doing well for a long time as well as their regular captain Angelo Mathews," Mushfiqur said. "They would also be aware of Bangladesh doing well in recent times. We also have Sri Lankans in our coaching staff who can provide us with key information. So taking everything into consideration, we do have a chance in front of us. If we can play our best cricket, the result will be in our favour. We have been able to raise our standard of cricket. It has also contributed to the expectations placed on us. People now believe that if Bangladesh plays well, they can win against any team.

Mushfiqur said that playing their third consecutive Test series in the span of three months will keep Bangladesh tuned to the format. He was also banking heavily on three of his most talented bowlers to bring him wickets and stability.

"I must say that the opposition will feel the pressure playing against a bowling attack that has Shakib [Al Hasan], Mustafizur [Rahman] and [Mehedi Hasan] Miraz. In addition, we are going to play a third Test series in a row, in a short span of time. This will certainly be an advantage to us."

Mushfiqur said that the bowling attack will have to perform better than they did in New Zealand and India, simply because they now have the added experience.

"Our bowling unit hasn't improved as much as our batting unit has. They are inexperienced. They will get better by playing more and more matches. I think our fielders are also to blame for the bowlers not living up to expectations.

"I believe that Mustafizur, Taskin [Ahmed], Rubel [Hossain], Subashis [Roy], Miraz and Shakib are all capable in bringing us 20 wickets in a Test match. We are going to Sri Lanka with a strong unit."

Mushfiqur was, however, wary of the big threat they would be up against in Sri Lanka - spinner Rangana Herath, who has taken 25 wickets at a bowling average of 25.60 in six Tests against Bangladesh. Mushfiqur said that keeping him quiet will help them get big scores.

"Herath is one of the best bowlers in the world, so we will have plans for him like we do for every player. Some of us have already faced him so we have some idea of tackling him," Mushfiqur said. "If he doesn't take many wickets, we can have more runs on the scoreboard."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • graite0848289 on March 1, 2017, 19:47 GMT

    BD is doing things right. This mindset of confidence is good for their cricket and its not overdoing it either, unlike what some people think.

  • Bawan on March 1, 2017, 14:50 GMT

    He is a talker . He always talks before perform. Common grow up man, do your job then we can talk. also dont start to celebrate before win

  • javedr1392959 on March 1, 2017, 14:26 GMT

    Manik Mia - just think about things in a positive light. Imrul was injured, that is a fact, right ? The team selection has to be done and submitted to the host country from before so that visa processing and other preparations can begin. Imrul in the mean time was recovering, and like with everyone else, he was asked to play domestic to get back in the groove and show his fitness, particularly. Good for BD, he also scored a 100. So rejoice instead, saying that we are happy to see him fit, and in form. Maybe he will get back into the team mid-way through the series, if his current replacement fairs very poorly. With India being next door, this might be more informal. Who knows. Just take it easy.

  • Manik on March 1, 2017, 12:11 GMT

    If Imrul was not selected because of injury, how come he is playing on FC cricket in Dhaka now. He just scored a ton in FC. I do not understand the selectors.

  • Chandra on March 1, 2017, 12:10 GMT

    Good to see that Mushfiq has "agreed" to give up the keeping gloves. Now he needs to get relieved of the captaincy duty. Tamim is a much better choice.

  • randil on March 1, 2017, 8:25 GMT

    This is familiar.we saw what happened in nz and india.players and fans should learn to be humble.thats why they loose..these are pre match mind games.

  • Rownok on March 1, 2017, 7:21 GMT

    i think bd is bigger threat to sl than oz as they are from subcontinent.oz struggled against spin which bd plays comparatively well.mushy is saying the right thing.if you dont have the desperateness & attitude to win than there is no reason to play any kind of sport.

  • Sammy K on March 1, 2017, 5:30 GMT

    Bd desperately needs a quality keeper. Mushy is one of the best batsmen, often scoring runs aplenty. But his keeping is pathetic. It took him 3 tries to whip the bails in the last India test. If this is not pathetic, I don't know what is.

  • Suresh on February 28, 2017, 21:34 GMT

    Two closely matched teams. Should be one heck of a series.

  • Amir on February 28, 2017, 16:03 GMT

    Pretty silly comments from many here. Players are required to speak to the media specially the captains. People commenting about Mushy speaking to the media as "talking too much" do not know the requirements. He is responding to questions. Can he be more diplomatic, sure. But he is honest in his assessments. I do wish he would give up his gloves. BD has a good chance of a winning at least one test this time around. Last time they drew one test. if BD batsmen step up, we have a good chance this time. Go Tigers!

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