DHAKA: Bangladesh will be without star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for the first Test against Pakistan, which begins in Chittagong on Friday.

Shakib will join opener Tamim Iqbal on the sidelines, adding to a lack of confidence in the Bangladesh camp after losing eight straight Twenty20 internationals, meaning Pakistan will start as overwhelming favourites.

The visitors completed a clean sweep 3-0 in the preceding Twenty20 series.

Shakib suffered a hamstring injury against the West Indies in Sharjah last month that ended his T20 World Cup, but he had been included in the Test squad in the hope that he would regain his fitness.

But Bangladesh’s chief selector Minhajul Abedin said on Tuesday: “Shakib hasn’t recovered from his injury yet. He needs further rehabilitation. Our physiotherapist is constantly taking care of him.”

Tamim was left out of the Test squad as he recovers from a finger injury and is unlikely to resume training until next month, said a Bangladesh Cricket Board official.

Minhajul was confident Bangladesh would be able to make up for the absence of Shakib.

“We have options in the spin department as well as in pace. The team for the first Test is made up of cricketers who have been playing together regularly and they know the demand of Test matches,” he said.

“Pakistan are a formidable team but we are confident that Bangladesh will be competitive if we are disciplined and patient.”

Pakistan have played 10 Tests against Bangladesh, winning nine. Bangladesh’s only draw came in 2015 when Tamim scored a maiden Test double hundred in a record 312-run opening stand with Imrul Kayes in the second innings in Khulna.

The second Test will start in Dhaka on December 4.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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