Bangladesh’s Shakib doubtful for first West Indies Test

Bangladesh suffered a blow Wednesday after skipper Shakib Al Hasan said he was not sure if he would be fit in time for the opening Test against the West Indies.

Shakib, 31, missed the recent Test series against Zimbabwe because of surgery on an injured finger in September.

The batsman was declared fit by the team’s physio and included in the squad for the two-Test West Indies series starting Thursday in Chittagong.

“We know how challenging it is to play a five-day match. So still there is confusion whether I have reached that level (to play),” Shakib told reporters in Chittagong.

“I have trained only in four sessions. Among them, two sessions were optional. Let’s see, I may have to wait till the end.”

Shakib’s return was a big boost for the home side, who have struggled in recent Tests.

They were thrashed 2-0 by the West Indies in July, and then salvaged a 1-1 home series draw against Test minnows Zimbabwe earlier this month.

Shakib acknowledged playing the West Indies would be more challenging than the Zimbabwe series, but said the two sides are closely matched.

“I think both the teams will have equal chances. The wicket may get spin… (but) sometimes the wicket starts behaving well after a few days of playing,” he said of the Chittagong venue.

“As both the teams are very close in rankings — eighth and ninth, I think the series will be a very important one. I am hopeful we will perform well.”

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite said they must not rest on their success during the home series against Bangladesh.

“Pitches are obviously different to what we played on (in the Caribbean). Whatever we do, whether fast bowling or spin, we have to do it well,” he said.

“We can’t think about the past series. We have to stick to our plans, and I think we will go on top.”

The West Indies have never lost a Test match in Bangladesh, winning six and drawing one.

The second Test will be played in Dhaka from November 30 to December 4.

The visitors will also play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals during their month-long tour of Bangladesh.

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