After having been on the white-ball treadmill for a long, long time, which included a successful T20 World Cup campaign, Pakistan are now all set to trade their green shirts for white flannels as they take on Bangladesh in a two-match Test series.
The team last played Test cricket against West Indies in August 2021. They lost the first match by 1 wicket but bounced back strongly to win the next one by 109 runs. Babar Azam, as always, was the top run scorer for Pakistan in the series with 193 runs at an average of 48.25 and a strike rate of 43.96. Fawad Alam, as is increasingly becoming consistent, was also among the runs with 180 runs from three innings. Shaheen Shah Afridi, a permanent fixture in the bowling charts, was the top wicket taker in the series with 18 scalps from two matches at an average of 11.28. Mohammad Abbas was next with 6 wickets.
The last time Bangladesh clashed in a Test match was a one-off fixture against Zimbabwe in July this year which the team won by 220 runs. Mahmudullah was Bangladesh’s top run scorer in the match and made 150 with the help of 17 boundaries. Shadman Islam and Nazmul Hossain Shanto also contributed with 138 and 119 runs respectively. With the ball, Mehidy Hasan was well ahead of the pack with 9 wickets at an average of 16.4.
Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed, who were both among the wickets, are unavailable for this match due to injuries. Bangladesh have been hit by several injuries with absence of Tamim Iqbal and Shoriful Islam as well. Uncapped players Mahmudul Hasan (21-year-old batter who has hit two centuries in the ongoing National Cricket League) and Rejaur Rahman (the 22-year-old has picked up 33 wickets in 10 games) have been added to the Bangladesh squad for the first Test which begins on November 26 in Chattogram.
Pakistan opener Imran Butt having been dropped, Imam-ul-Haq who scored 448 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy including an unbeaten double century, is likely to accompany Abid Ali at the top of the order. Azar Ali, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam and Mohammed Rizwan will take their respective places in the middle order. Alongside Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali and Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan will have to choose between Faheem Ashraf, Kamran Ghulam and Saud Shakeel for the all-rounder’s role.
Bangladesh have Shadman Islam, Saif Hassan, Mominul Haque, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Liton Das as their top 7. Taijul Islam will accompany Mehidy Hasan, Rejaur Rahman Raja and Ebadot Hossain in the bowling attack.
PAKISTAN: Abid Ali, Imam ul Haq, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Kamran Ghulam, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Afridi.
BANGLADESH: Shadman Islam, Saif Hassan, Mominul Haque (c), Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Liton Das (wk), Taijul Islam, Mehidy Hasan, Abu Jayed, Rejaur Rahman Raja, Ebadot Hossain.