Bangladesh in Zimbabwe 2011 July 25, 2011

'We're the favourites' - Shakib

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain, thinks his team is slightly ahead of Zimbabwe as they prepare for their first Test match in more than 14 months. The 15-member squad leaves Dhaka on July 27 to play a one-off Test and five one-dayers in what will be Zimbabwe's return to the game's premier format after six years. While the hosts have played a number of games against the second-string sides of South Africa and Australia, Bangladesh have only gone through a long fitness camp and some two-day games against the Academy side before the tour. Still, Shakib believes that they go into the series as favourites.

"I think we are, but I won't say that we are too far ahead of them since we're playing in their weather and conditions and playing after a good gap. But still, I think we're the favourites," Shakib said during the pre-tour press conference in Mirpur on Monday. "I am not thinking about it as a problem and as Stuart [Law] said, everyone should be excited and I'm sure they're interested to do well in the Test.

"They [Zimbabwe] are getting good practice against South Africa A and Australia A. They will be prepared so we'll have to play our best cricket."

Stuart Law, who was appointed head coach of Bangladesh earlier this month, said that he has set small targets, starting from batting out a good number of overs in the first innings. "It's not a skill problem as I've seen. The players are highly skilled. It's the mental approach that has to change in Test cricket. They have to find a tempo that suits Test cricket with their batting. If we can find the right tempo, we can post scores that the bowlers can bowl at.

"I've set a challenge for us to bat 120 overs in the first innings. If we can do that, 350-plus should be an achievable target."

Bangladesh will go into the Test with just one bowler, Shakib, who has more than 50 Test wickets, and the absence of Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain could be the biggest worry for the team. "I think [Shahadat Hossain] Rajib is a huge loss," Shakib said. "He's been our best Test bowler for quite a while. But those who are in the team, they're bowling well. I think they've the ability to take wickets,"

Of those in the squad, Shakib singled out left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak, saying his record over the last 12 months would have given him the confidence to play Test cricket. "[Abdur Razzak] Raj bhai has been bowling well in the last year or so. I have bowled the most as I was the only chosen spinner in the team but I still think Raj bhai can do well if he's chosen. But the burden falls on the entire bowling unit. Everyone has to work hard as the spinners won't get a lot of help from those wickets,"

Shakib was involved in a controversy over team selection on his return from Worcestershire, but wants to make amends in Zimbabwe with a fresh outlook. "Opportunities come all the time. It depends on you when you want to change your attitude and the way you go about your work. I think it's a great opportunity to prove myself."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Itrat on July 28, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    @arvind: why u r crying for bd, u should cry for our indian team. they will be whitewash by eng this time. and u shud also remember that we are in test cric for 81yrs , and bd just 10 yrs. but we have a very poor record with pakistan like 60-40. Bd new in test cric and we shud support them.

  • Ashique on July 28, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    To Ronsars - thanks for your support. We(Bangladesh) need a lift from our neighboring heavyweights to improve and be competitive just as Sri Lanka got it from the two neighbors and became world beaters. We are slow unfortunately - but insha'allah we reach there. To DarindaUK - splendid observation and advice!! Absolutely spot on - if we can play 120 overs in each innings and score about 700, it may be very hard to beat us because the opponent has to score 700+ in two innings in around 200 overs. I hope someday our batsmen realize the trick and stick to the hard work. They have ample examples to learn from: the Chanders, Dravids and Kallis's have been showing this for 15 years now !

  • shahadat on July 28, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    bangladesh, india, zimbabwe, west indies are same quality team. so there will be some competition but BD is favourite here

  • Dar on July 28, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    I've been following BD since WC 2007. My oppinion is that BD never was consistent in their batting. I hope they can Target to play atleast 120-130 overs. I believe they need to concentrate to stay at the crease longer rather than quick few runs. Shakib and Tamim played in England this Summer, but didn't make that much impact. Shakib's batting was very poor, but bowling was OK. Tamim didn't do that well in T20 either. I hope BD Target to remain in the crease as much as possible, if they fail to do that, as they're doing currently, then there's no hope for BD to be any better in the future. To all the BD fans, plaese, let us not be "all mouth and no action". Let the BD team's action do the talking. Good luck BD.

  • rakibul on July 28, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    defenitly bd is favourite against zim both in test and odi. But bd should be careful that zim has taken lot of preparation. This time they got a strong pace attack as they know bd is strong in spin. So bd should concern its pace attack. All they way good luck bd.

  • Dummy4 on July 28, 2011, 5:09 GMT

    Even if the lone Test match becomes a close one due to BD's lack of practice ( ref. la India ) and Zimbabwes continuous practice and home condition. the ODI series is pretty much for Bangladeshis, they are well tuned for ODIs and their players, especially Tamim, Shakib, Razzaque, Shafiul, Mushfique, Riad are all very experienced in ODI match and can bring results their way at any circumstances..

  • Shafin on July 27, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    Will it be reasoable if Shakib said: "We are underdogs"? BD won all home and away series for last 3 years against ZIM. Sure it will be a tough series, but yes, BD are favs.

  • raymond on July 27, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    Zimbabwe is à team that had built itself into a competitive unit got some 10 yrs ago. They were challenging everyone- then came the political problems which decimated the country and affected the team. They have had to build from scratch again. They have managed to catch up with the associates in a reasonably short time and are now taking their first tentative steps back into the test arena. Bangladesh have had uninterrupted play during this time without necessarily over doing their success. I feel zim might just have the edge....!

  • Maruf on July 27, 2011, 13:08 GMT

    We need to play against a good Zim team as they need to play against us to become one. Best of my wishes to both the team.

  • Deepak on July 27, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    no one will misread Bangla team, they are an ordinary team. They might go on to lose the series against Zimbabwe

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