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Pakistan hopes to ride on experience

Bangladesh confident after limited-overs exploits but wary of return of Misbah, Younis

Pakistan hopes to ride on experience - Cricket News
Bangladesh would be wary of the return of Test specialists - Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.
If Pakistan needs to do some soul-searching, it is now.
 
Blanked 3-0 in the One-Day Internationals, the team was expected to bounce back in the one-off Twenty20 International. But a reversal there too shifts the focus on the Test specialists, particularly Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain, as the team gears up for the first Test of a two-match rubber against Bangladesh starting at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna on Tuesday (April 28).
 
Pakistan's Test form has been impressive, although it last played in the format nearly five months ago. It levelled a two-Test series against New Zealand, before which Australia was handed a 2-0 thrashing. It was a series dotted with plenty of milestones, none more special than Misbah's fastest Test century. Therefore, the side doesn't have to look too far back for inspiration.
 
While Misbah brings to the fore the calm Pakistan needs, he is also pragmatic when he says a young side that is building for the future should treat immediate failures as part of the learning curve. "If we have decided to build the team for the future, then we have to back all these new players and have to give them confidence," he said after the ODI series loss. "If we don't panic and give this team some time, it will mature within the next two years, so we must not look at the results."
 
Sami Aslam, who made 45 on his ODI debut during the third match last week, and Babar Azam are likely to tussle for the opening slot, while Saeed Ajmal is set to return to the longest format after gap of eight months. The pace attack will be spearheaded by the impressive Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz after a host of pacemen pulled up injured in the lead-up to the series.
 
Zulfiqar Babar, the left-arm spinner, adds teeth to the spin attack along with Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez, who has been cleared to bowl after passing tests at the ICC-accredited centre in Chennai earlier this month. 
 
Pakistan has beaten Bangladesh in each of the eight Tests between the sides, the last of which was in 2011, but Shakib Al Hasan believes his team is firmly in the present. 
 
"They are a better batting side with some experienced players in their ranks. But I think we have got a better bowling unit and our fielding is far better than theirs," the Bangladesh allrounder said after training on Sunday. "I don't think we should focus on any target in the Tests. What we need is to carry the confidence of our one-day success into the Tests. And if we can do that it will be a very good series."
 
Rubel Hossain, who was rested for the one-off T20I, returns to lead the bowling attack in Mashrafe Mortaza's absence, with the spin department expected to be manned by Shakib, Jubair Hossain and Tajiul Islam, who holds the Bangladesh record for the best bowling figures in an innings (8 for 39 against Zimbabwe in October 2014). Shahadat Hossain, the pacer who wasn’t a part of Bangladesh’s World Cup campaign and the subsequent limited-overs series, also returns to the side.
 
Meanwhile, the batting makeover looks set to be complete with Sowmya Sarkar, who has established himself in the one-day side at the top of the order, set to make his debut. It adds depth to a batting line-up that boasts of the returning Imrul Kayes, the in-form Tamim Iqbal, Shakib, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim, the captain.
 
Form is on Bangladesh's side, but Pakistan’s experience can’t be overlooked. All set, then, for an engrossing battle.
 
Squads:
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Litton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (capt, wk), Mahmudullah, Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury, Soumya Sarkar, Taijul Islam, Zubaer Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Shahadat Hossain, Mohammad Shahid.
 
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Sami Aslam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Asad Shafiq, Imran Khan, Babar Azam, Zulfiqar Babar.

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