Mominul Haque, one of Bangladesh’s best performers in the Test circuit, will become Bangladesh’s newest Test captain as the Indore Test against India rolls out the carpet for the start of the Tigers’ Test Championship campaign today. Following the two-year ban handed to Shakib Al Hasan on the eve of the tour, Mominul was handed the Test captaincy for the challenging tour but unlike Mahmudullah Riyad’s appointment as T20I captain, the decision raised a few eyebrows because the left-hander has not captained the side before in any format.
Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad and most recently Shakib -- all stalwarts in the side -- have led the side in the past few years but unlike them, Mominul does not come off as one who is influential in the dressing room. Whether the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) were eyeing him as a stopgap solution or a long-term possibility remains to be seen but ahead of an important series, it could be surmised that Mominul’s task is an extremely difficult one.
He appeared to be ‘unsure’ of the expectations of the side, saying ‘there was no such expectation’ on his side during a press conference yesterday.
Asked if he meant that he did not envision his side winning, he retorted: “I didn’t say we don’t want to win. The way you guys mentioned expectations, it’s nothing like that. A player takes the field to win but when you talk about expectations too much, the pressure can get to you.”
The pressure of leading against the number one Test team in the world is understandably considerable. Mominul, however, said that having previous captains in the side was a big help after he took charge.
“It’s a great achievement for me to get the help of the two seniors [Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah].”
He said that the experience in the side meant that his instructions are just apt. “Everyone in the side is inspired and established. I don’t say more than I have to,” he said.
While Mominul may have been thrust into the hot seat with an important challenge on the horizon, he is not new to the captaincy role, having led Chattogram Division side in the National Cricket League for the past two years and the ‘A’ team recently during their tour of Sri Lanka. For him, the challenge was more an opportunity.
“The positive aspect here is that this is an opportunity for me. When you play against the best team in the world, who are good in all three departments, it’s a good thing to be able to do well against them,” a more determined Mominul said.
Appearing calm, Mominul may not look like an imposing character but his determination can still urge the Tigers to perform. Mominul said that the team is ready for the challenge.
“Everyone is focused. Everyone will take on more responsibility in the absence of important personnel. They are all determined,” Mominul said, confident that his team could put up a fight perhaps not expected of them.
- The Indore Test will be Bangladesh’s first of the World Test Championship (WTC). A total of 120 points are up for grabs from the two-match series against India. A win in the Test will net a team 60 points, a tie 30 points and a draw 20 points.
- India are the runaway leaders in the WTC so far, having won all their five matches. They have so far collected 240 points while the next best, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, have 60 points each.
- Since January 2013, India have won 26, drawn five and lost one of their 32 home matches. Their last home defeat came at the hands of Australia in February 2017. They have since won nine and drawn three matches at home.
- Bangladesh played their inaugural Test against India in Dhaka on November 10, 2000. They will start their first Test series (apart from a one-off Test in February 2017 in Hyderabad) in India 19 years and four days since their first ever Test.
- Over the past five years, India have played 55 Tests while Bangladesh have played 27.
- India’s last series was the three-match home series against South Africa in October, which the hosts won 3-0.
- Bangladesh’s last Test was the home game against Afghanistan in September 2019, which they lost by 224 runs. Their last away series was the three-match series in New Zealand in February-March 2019, which they lost 2-0 before the third Test was cancelled due to the Christchurch mosque shootings.