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Rediff.com  » Cricket » England take on Bangladesh with an eye on India tour

England take on Bangladesh with an eye on India tour

October 18, 2016 16:15 IST

Captain Alastair Cook's latest opening partner is the most pressing matter to resolve with 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett, 22, in contention to get the job in place of Alex Hales, who opted to miss the tour due to security concerns.

IMAGE: England's players celebrate a wicket during a tour match against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI in Chittagong. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England will use the two-Test series in Bangladesh to solve selection issues and prepare for the potentially tougher series they face over the coming months.

Alastair Cook's side next travel to India, the world's top-ranked team, before hosting South Africa and West Indies in 2017 ahead of their ultimate challenge in a tour of Australia.

Cook's latest opening partner is the most pressing matter to resolve with 19-year-old Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett, 22, in contention to get the job in place of Alex Hales, who opted to miss the tour due to security concerns.

Hameed is favourite having enjoyed a prolific county season with Lancashire in which he batted with great maturity and displayed a sound defensive technique.

"There's a really nice calm aura about him when he's practising, and certainly in the middle, when I've played against him twice this year," England fast bowler Stuart Broad said.

"He knows his gameplan for such a young guy and has been hugely impressive in the conditions so far."

Haseeb Hameed

IMAGE: Haseeb Hameed of England waits to bat during a nets session. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Duckett is a more attacking player, a fierce cutter and puller of the ball, and many believe he would provide a more suitable foil for the obdurate and disciplined Cook, particularly against the inexperienced Bangladesh seam bowlers.

England could opt to play Duckett in the middle order in place of Gary Ballance, who has not cemented his place after being recalled to the side this year.

"Duckett scores in slightly different areas, he's quite awkward to bowl to and he sticks to his gameplan," Broad said.

Bangladesh, who are playing their first Test in nearly 15 months, have improved significantly in limited-overs cricket, especially at home where they did not lose a bilateral ODI series in two years until England snapped that streak last week.

They have traditionally struggled to sustain the intensity over five days, however, and the lack of experience in their pace attack also compromises their ability to take 20 wickets in a Test.

The hosts have packed four specialist spinners into their squad and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim will be counting on all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan to help the side prove they belong at the Test level.

The first of the two Tests starts on Thursday in Chittagong.

Factbox: England v Bangladesh Test series

ENGLAND

Captain: Alastair Cook

Coach: Trevor Bayliss

Squad: Cook, Moeen Ali, Zafar Ansari, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Gareth Batty, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Ben Duckett, Steven Finn, Haseeb Hameed, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.

BANGLADESH

Captain: Mushfiqur Rahim

Coach: Chandika Hathurusingha

Squad: Rahim (wicketkeeper), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Mahmudullah, Mehedi Hasan, Mominul Haque, Nurul Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Shuvagata Hom, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam.

HEAD TO HEAD

Total: 8

England won: 8

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

2010 - England won by innings & 80 runs, Manchester

2010 - England won by eight wickets, Lord's

2010 - England won by nine wickets, Dhaka

2010 - England won by 181 runs, Chittagong

2005 - England won by innings & 27 runs, Chester-le-Street

FIXTURES:

1st Test - October 20-24, Chittagong

2nd Test - October 28-November 1, Dhaka

Source:
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