October 26, 2016

Bangladesh are a hugely improved side


Having just landed in Bangladesh on Monday after the auspicious occasion of his daughter’s birth back in England, visiting captain Alastair Cook will have another special achievement to call his own when he takes the field tomorrow for the first Test between England and Bangladesh at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.

Cook will then overtake Alec Stewart’s record as the most capped England Test player with his 134th match. And judging by the level of Test-match experience on either side, Cook will probably fancy his team’s chances of going 1-0 up in the two match series at the end of five days. But the England captain, a thorough professional, was not taking Bangladesh lightly.

“I think that could be an advantage. You get into a rhythm of playing Test cricket, there’s no doubt about it,” said Cook during the pre-match press conference this afternoon. “They might be a bit more attacking. As we saw in the one-day series, Bangladesh are a hugely improved cricketing nation over the last three or four years. There’s talent, which we hadn’t necessarily seen in the past, and a pathway through for guys. I think it will be a really good test for us.”

He reluctantly admitted that England are probably favourites, but added that such tags do not matter much.

“I think due to Bangladesh not playing much cricket over the last year or so,” said Cook. “You weigh that against us playing in not alien conditions, but conditions that are not natural to us. We won an Ashes series when no one gave us a chance, so it’s irrelevant to how we play.”

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