Bangladesh wait on Iqbal, Haque seeks rare Test win as skipper

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Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque playing against Sri Lanka during a Test match in Kandy this May.
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Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque hopes "important" opening batsman Tamim Iqbal will be passed fit to face Zimbabwe in a one-off Test at Harare Sports Club from Wednesday.

"Tamim is a very important player for us. For him we will wait for the last moment, we have training today (and) will decide in the morning whether he will play or not," the skipper told an online news conference.

Top-order batsman Haque has battled as skipper of the Tigers in the longest format, winning just one Test of eight, and appreciates the value Iqbal brings.

Bangladesh do have happy memories of their last Test against Zimbabwe, though, cruising to victory by an innings and 106 runs in the sub-continent last year.

Haque was optimistic as he prepared for a rare sport event in Zimbabwe with football and rugby shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was a bit anxious about how we will adjust to the Test match after playing Twenty20 matches in the league," he said.

"But now I am relieved after seeing most of the batsmen and bowlers doing well in the warm-up game. I hope there will not be any shortcomings."

Another boost for Haque is the return of Shakib al Hasan, who opted out of a two-Test series against Sri Lanka this year.

- Zimbabwe blows -

"His presence gives us an opportunity to pick an extra batsman instead of an extra bowler (due to his all-around ability)."

Haque was reluctant to predict the outcome of the Test before examining the wicket at a venue just a five-minute drive from the centre of Harare.

"When I visited Zimbabwe last time (eight years ago), I found that pacers dominated the series. But in the last couple of series, both pacers and spinners have fared well."

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe suffered two pre-Test blows with captain and all-rounder Sean Williams and batsman Craig Ervine ruled out by Covid-19.

Both have been forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with coronavirus-positive family members, and Brendan Taylor takes over as skipper.

"We know our conditions quite well. Hopefully, we have tailored the conditions to suit us. We have a young vibrant team, and we are excited to get going," said Taylor.

"We would like a fast and bouncy track. Hopefully find the edges. We don't want to play into their hands with something too slow.

"I think we were a bit rusty in those Test matches," added Taylor, referring to two Test losses to Pakistan in Harare this year.

"We have done a lot of work and discussions since then. I think the guys are better prepared this time."

After the Test, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh will play one-day internationals on July 16, 18 and 20 and Twenty20 internationals on July 23, 25 and 27.

All the matches will be staged behind closed doors in Harare because of the pandemic.

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