Mashrafe urges senior quartet to step up in Australia Tests

Mashrafe Mortaza believes Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan will be key to Bangladesh's bowling threat against Australia Getty Images

The role of Bangladesh's most-experienced Test quartet will be vital to their chances of success against Australia. Mashrafe Mortaza, former Test and current ODI captain, who was part of a training camp in Dhaka over the last five weeks, believes Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah will have to lead the way against the first Australian Test side to visit Bangladesh in 11 years.

"I expect our four senior players to put a price on their wicket," Mashrafe told ESPNcricinfo. "They must put up a statement in the middle that the young players can follow. Tamim is in the best form of his career. He and Imrul can provide a good start. We have Shakib and [Mehidy Hasan] in our spin department. If one of the fast bowlers have a good spell of three or four wickets, there will be a possibility for us. These will be expected when the situation arises in the match."

Mashrafe said that Bangladesh's improved mindset has put them in a position of strength ahead of the Test series. The confidence, he believes, has soared after they convincingly beat England and Sri Lanka in the last ten months. Although the losses in Christchurch [against New Zealand], Hyderabad [against India] and Galle [against Sri Lanka] were largely due to poor performances their valiance in the Chittagong [against England] and Wellington defeats didn't go unnoticed.

"More important than winning or losing is their mentality. I am witnessing in the dressing room that their mindset is setting them apart from previous teams, and they are in the making of bigger things in the next two years.

"It is encouraging enough to think that they will fight, which is a better expectation than only hoping for a result. This has also been their best preparation ahead of any Test series," he said.

Mashrafe said that the batsmen have to continue to be hungry and not be complacent with a milestone but go on to make a bigger score each time they are settled at the crease.

"I think they have been working on their mentality, which has been an area of concern for the last 15 years. We never had the patience. After scoring a century, a batsman has to think of coming back the next day and converting it into a big score. Why not a double-hundred? It doesn't happen every day but utilising an opportunity properly is vital.

"Say someone scored a double-hundred but the others haven't contributed as much. The team score comes to 400-450, so it becomes important for the set batsman to make it count. Someone who gets out in the forties has to think of playing a long innings, not just be happy with a fifty," said Mashrafe.

Mashrafe believes Bangladesh will have to raise their game against Australia more than what they did against England at home last year. He said that tackling Australia's bowling attack, even without Mitchell Starc, will be critical to doing well in the two Tests.

"I don't want to create unnecessary pressure on the players but I am expecting a good Test series," he said. "Australia is the most passionate Test team in the world and their best possible team is coming to Bangladesh. They have Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon in the bowling line-up.

"The work for our team isn't going to be easy but if we play one level better than what we did against England, it would be possible to win, but I am not going to put any pressure on them in terms of results."