Chittagong: Captain Mushfiqur Rahim insisted Wednesday that Bangladesh would not use their long break from Test cricket as an excuse as they seek a first victory over England in the game’s longest format.
While Bangladesh have inflicted embarrassing defeats on England in ODI and Twenty20 cricket, they have lost all eight of their Test matches and are desperate to break that sequence in the next fortnight.
Given that Bangladesh have not played a Test match for 15 months, they could be forgiven for being somewhat ring-rusty when the first contest in a two-match series begins on Thursday in Chittagong.
But Rahim said the hosts would not dwell on their lack of five-day cricket and instead seek inspiration from their vastly-improved form in the shorter formats.
“If we start thinking about these things, then we are going on the back foot,” he told a press conference.
“Now is the time to play and we are focusing on that. Being a professional cricketer you cannot say that we have not played for the last 15 months.
“The important thing is how you can do well in the coming five days. We are not concentrating on not having played for a long time.”
Once the whipping boys of international cricket, Bangladesh’s performances in limited overs have earned them respect and they are no longer regarded as pushovers — especially on home turf.
They won six consecutive ODI series at home in a sequence dating back to November 2014, before England’s narrow 2-1 victory earlier this month.
“The last two years we played ODIs very consistently. We did not win all the matches but the graph has been on an upward path,” said Rahim.
“So we want that we can become a team like that in Tests too, that we can play better and better with each Test.”
While Bangladesh have had a dearth of Test cricket, England play more Test matches than any other nation, something which their skipper Alastair Cook acknowledged should give them an advantage.
“You get into a rhythm of playing Test cricket, there’s no doubt about it,” said Cook while stressing that England would not be guilty of complacency.
“As we saw in the one-day series, Bangladesh are a hugely improved cricketing nation over the last three or four years. There’s talent, which we hadn’t necessarily seen in the past, and a pathway through for guys. I think it will be a really good test for us.”
The second Test against England will start in Dhaka on October 28 before the tourists head to India.