Bangladesh faces their biggest dilemma as they take on Sri Lanka in the first Test on Wednesday without their skipper Shakib Al Hasan at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.
Bangladesh will be playing their first series in a home without their Sri Lankan coach Haturasinghe and later is now the coach of Sri Lanka. Its looks like Lankans have won a tactical battle before the series has begun.
Tigers in a desperate move called on old season campaigner Abdur Razzak in a bid to cover the absence of Shakib hoping the veteran might be able to weave his magic with his left arm spin.
Razzak, 35, is the third spinner added to the squad for the match in Chittagong after skipper and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out with a finger injury.
Uncapped left-arm orthodox spinner Sunzumul Islam and leg-spinner Tanbir Hayder are also part of the 16-man squad to be led by Mahmudullah Riyad who will be captaining the side for his maiden venture.
Dark horse Razzak, who played the last of his 12 Tests against West Indies in 2014, was in a superb nick is the domestic front recently with galore of wickets. Now it will be an acid test for a veteran to justify the selectors’ decision to call him in the squad with a hope to cover the incredible Shakib’s absence.
“Shakib is the best player, not just on our team (but) he is also the best all-rounder in the world,” said Razzak this afternoon to the reporters in Chittagong on Monday.
“It’s difficult to replace him because you need to pick a bowler and batsman in his place and still there is no guarantee that they will perform equally good.
“I will try to play my normal game without trying anything extraordinary,” the left-arm spinner said.
Tigers’ record at home was extraordinary in 2016-17 seasons as they managed to register their maiden victories in Test against the likes of England and Australia and forced them to share the series with them.
To add an icing to the cake, they recorded their only Test win against Sri Lanka and that too in their 100th Test in Colombo, when the visitors drew the two-match series 1-1.
Quite rightly Sri Lanka, led by Dinesh Chandimal, are upbeat after their recent victory over Tigers in the tri-series one-day international tournament final last Saturday and have taken morale booster shot over the host coming into this Test series and to add Bangladesh misery, Bangladesh skipper Shakib injured his finger and was forced to opt out from the first Test.
Lankans also start this series on an inspirational win against Pakistan in UAE late last year, they mauled Pakistan 2-0 in the Test series.
However, Sri Lanka too had a hiccup as they have lost veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews who too was ruled out of the first game due to injury.
Manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed that the team would not seek a replacement for Mathews.
Lankan also have flattering Test record against Bangladesh as in 18 Tests played between each other, Bangladesh has won only one Test while Sri Lanka has won 15 of them with two drawn.
Bangladesh: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Kamrul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Naeem Hasan, Sunzamul Islam, Tanbir Hayder, Abdur Razzak.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Lahiru Kumara.