We all have been waiting for this test match eagerly with high hope - our first test victory. As we don't afford to faulter in this occasion, I guess we should start discussing 1st test line up with minute detail considering all known parameters and then predict some.
As I understand we are gonna have a dust bowl which will start cracking from third day, obviously team compositing will reflect that, having our infamous batting collapse in mind.
So here is my team (batting order wise)
1. Javed Omar
From the looks of his recent performance and body language we can safely assume that he is reaching the end of his career in alarming pace. Though he would not make my ODI team anymore, but I reckon he is good enough to see inexperienced Zimbabwe opening bowlers off and then stay bit longer, if he is up for it mentally.
2. Nafis Iqbal:
We all know he is talented and have what it takes to survive the rigour of international test cricket with little tweak in his mind-set which may come with experience as we all hope. Probebly he will be given a good run in the team before getting an obvious 'Ashraful treatment'. My prediction? Either he will score a century in one of the tests if teams moral remains as high as it's now or he will fail miserably in tests which will continue in ODI series too.
3. Habibul Bashar:
In test matches, Bashar still remains our batting back-bone as he is the only one who holds a decent average. You can never predict where Bashar's next century will come from, but he should be salivating to belt couple of long innings after prolong absence good form.
4. Md. Ashraful :
Technically he is the best batsman in the team now, but one may still worry about his consistancy. But he is getting there. I'm always impressed with his batting temperament.
Couple of failures and couple of big knocks would be considered as usual performace.
5. Rajin Saleh:
Pretty much usual story for a Bangladeshi talent - glimpses of high potential in debut series followed by an average series and then customary long run of form slump. He should come at number 5 as in my team best two batsmen comes at number 3 and 4. He should take a leaf out of Ash's book to get rid of 'nervous 40s' - a cricketing term he provoked us to invent!
6. Aftab Ahmed:
Young talent. He hasn't done anything spectacular in test matches like his fellow batch mate Nafis but showed some glimpses of talent here and there. I sense his confidence is growing slowly and he will come good soon. Since we are using only 2 genuine pace bowler he will be used as stock 3rd seamer, according to the seletors. He would be better off scoring few big knocks as people see him more obvious choice in ODIs than in test matches.
7. Khaled Masud
Khaled remains our best option as wicket keeper-batsman shall I say! He is an experienced campaigner and slowly getting better everyday! Apart from quality keeping we would like to see some big knocks, just to increase his test batting average that reflects his batting talent.
8. Naimur Rahman:
Surprize surprize! Yes, if he is in good form and has right attitude then he should be pairing up with Rafique regardless whoever we are playing against. A world class SLA and a quality OB bowling in tendam could cause havock to any non sub-continental teams. I hear he is in good form with bat too? I know he refused to play in the 3-day match, but may be we should give him a chance or two (?) to pair up with Rafique to show us what he can do when he is in good form?
9. Md. Rafique
World class. period.
My personal expection is to take 10-wicket haul in both matches. Long overdue, he deserves it.
10. Mashrafee Mortaza:
Our captain should still be careful to handle him properly - let him bowl in small spells of 4-6 overs. He will get some wickets and inject fear to opponents as usual, but please be prepared to see some quick-fire runs too.
11. Tapash Baisya
He is a different bowler when he bowls with Mashrafee. Had a poor run of form recently, but a good performance is always round the corner.
Alak Kapali : Zimbabwe has 3 leg spinners in their squad, so he should be bowling in nets as much as he can to prepare batsmen. Sorry Kaps, You just need a liitle more time to get into test fold, but I promise to include you in few ODIs.
All of my positive predictions are made on the basis of current team morale. But be warned. there is only a fine line between confidence and complacency.
Bring them on.
Edited on, January 1, 2005, 3:01 AM GMT, by Zephaniah.