'Not going to risk Taskin,' Zakir to open and Nurul to keep - Russell Domingo
Shakib is carrying a rib injury that he sustained during the ODI series, but did bat in the nets on Test-match eve
Bangladesh's fast bowlers have had their best year ever in Test cricket, but their batters have had a tough 2022. After the historic win in Mount Maunganui, Bangladesh have lost six out of seven Tests and their batters have struggled to put together big scores, individually and collectively. Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mominul Haque and Najmul Hossain Shanto are all concerns, but Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim have shown consistency in the format, while Shakib Al Hasan hasn't been shabby either.
Russell Domingo, Bangladesh's head coach, said the big challenge for Test specialists like Joy, Mominul and Taijul Islam would to find their groove quickly - Bangladesh are playing a Test after six months, which isn't much longer than India's hiatus from the longest format.
"Mominul and Joy last played international cricket six months ago. That's the challenge with one-format players," Domingo said the day before the first Test in Chattogram. "Shakib and Litton are playing week in, week out. It is not a big step-up for them. But Mominul and Joy are looking good, the way they are playing. I know the currency is runs, but technically they are looking pretty good. Joy has got a lot of starts, so it is just about finding that tempo and get the big score."
Shanto has scored just one half-century this year in eight Tests. He has also found form in the T20I and ODI sides of late, but has struggled for consistency there too.
"He showed good signs in Tests maybe a year and a half ago," Domingo said of Shanto. "He scored two centuries including one against Sri Lanka. It is tough for young players in the top order. Joy and Zakir (Hasan) are not natural openers. They prefer batting at No. 3 or No. 4. We have to be patient with these young players at this level.
"You could prepare raging turners for results right now, but that brings India into the game just as much. The same can happen on good wickets. It is a difficult situation"Russell Domingo
"Batting one, two and three is probably the hardest job in international cricket. Hopefully they repay the faith, and give the coaches and selectors something to hang on to."
With Tamim Iqbal out with injury, Zakir is likely to open with Joy. Zakir came into the limelight after his 173 saved Bangladesh A against India A last month, and he had also topped the run-charts in this season's first-class competition in Bangladesh.
"I have been very excited by him (Zakir). He has good energy," Domingo said. "I know he has done well domestically; he has played a T20I for Bangladesh. I like the way he looks to score when he bats. A little Tamim-like in the way he bats. Nice and positive. Hopefully he can get off to a good, quick start tomorrow."
Shakib is an injury concern for Bangladesh. He has been struggling after taking a blow to the ribs in the second ODI against India, and also has a shoulder niggle. He was taken to hospital on Tuesday morning, but returned to bat in the nets for the first time in the lead up to the first Test. Taskin Ahmed, the pace spearhead will also not play the match as he recovers from a back injury.
"We are not going to risk Taskin in the first Test," Domingo said. "He has come off a layoff and a few injections. To get him to bowl for a day-and-a-half in these conditions in Chattogram may not be good for him.
"(Nurul Hasan) Sohan was fantastic in the West Indies. He has the right character. Good keeper. Gives us a good competitive edge behind the stumps. Very vocal. Thoroughly deserves his place. I am backing Sohan as a keeper in the Test side. He is the one batter averaging 40 in the Test side; he has done well."
There has been a lot of chatter around the Chattogram pitch, known as Bangladesh's batting paradise, but it was deemed "below average" by the ICC four years ago.
"I want us to play on good wickets so that our cricket can improve," Domingo said. "It probably led to us doing well in that one Test in New Zealand. I am always very nervous about preparing wickets that are massively over the top. It doesn't benefit any of our games in the long term.
"You could prepare raging turners for results right now, but that brings India into the game just as much. The same can happen on good wickets, where our batters can bat for a long time. Indians can bat for a long time too. It is a difficult situation."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84