Bangladesh have won only three out of their 42 Tests away from home. Two of them came against a depleted West Indies outfit and the other one came against Zimbabwe.
When these numbers are narrowed down to New Zealand, they have lost all five Tests, three of them by an innings margin. And now this time, after having lost the limited-overs leg 6-0, Bangladesh are aware that they could be in for some serious hiding in the Tests as well against a buoyant New Zealand outfit that beat Pakistan 2-0 recently.
To ensure it doesn’t happen, Bangladesh’s batting needs to step up, something that didn’t happen in the limited-overs by Mushfiqur Rahim’s own admission. The Test captain has now called for his troops to deliver in order to become consistent away from home ahead of the first Test in Wellington. “Our target would be to bring the home consistency to away Tests,” Mushfiqur said on Wednesday (January 11). “It is time that we prove ourselves in overseas conditions. The batsmen have to take the biggest challenge. Some of them like Tamim, Shakib and Mahmudullah have done well in Tests here in the past.
“But now we need a collective effort from the batsmen, which we failed to do in the ODIs and T20s. We are capable, so this is our opportunity to do it. Our main challenge will be for the batsmen to set up the Test match for the bowlers. We have to put up a good enough total for the bowlers to defend.”
Considering some of their exciting prospects are yet to play a Test abroad, Mushfiqur has called for patience and not put unrealistic demands on them. “I would request all to keep realistic expectations about Mustafizur or Mehedi Hasan,” he said. “These conditions are new for them so sometimes even someone like Mehedi gets confused.
“But I feel he is a smart operator, which enabled him to come to the senior team so quickly. Here, he will learn how to switch his roles with the fast bowlers becoming the attacking options.” Even though he acknowledged that his seamers will be attacking more in this part of the world, he has warned them against getting carried away by the assistance on offer. “Bowlers do get excited by extra bounce but the best ball here, like any other pitch, is one that targets the top of off stump.”
Mushfiqur was also quick to point out that though the conditions are going to help the bowlers, it’ll a tough task for his bowlers to trouble the New Zealand batsmen. “We have tried to pass on this message to our bowlers and also told them that even a top batsman needs one ball to get out,” he said. “The bowlers have to work hard here because New Zealand know how to handle these conditions. When you know as a group that you can take 20 wickets, it gives a bit of satisfaction.
“But we are playing in a different condition and we haven’t played an away Test in a very long time. The pace bowlers have to take over the attacking role that the spinners have in home Tests. I believe that our pace bowlers have the ability to take 20 wickets if they bowl at their best.”