The recently concluded T20 series between India and Bangladesh turned out to be a closely contested affair. A 2-1 loss would certainly discourage the Bangladesh camp but there were plenty of positives for the visitors to take away. Had it not been for Deepak Chahar’s phenomenal spell in the decider, the outcome of the series could’ve been different.
The focus has now shifted to the longest format of the game, with the first Test starting November 14 at the Holkar Stadium in Indore. While most of the attention has been on the first-ever day-night Test set to take place in Kolkata, both teams will be eyeing a strong start to the two-Test series, keeping in mind the ICC Test Championship points on offer.
India currently enjoy a comfortable 180-point cushion at the top of the table while the first Test will mark the start of Bangladesh’s journey in the Championship.
The recent conundrum in Bangladesh Cricket that resulted in Shakib Al Hasan’s one year ban has kept the media attention firmly focussed on the young brigade, who will be looking to put up a brave fight against Virat Kohli’s ruthless Indian side.
The absence of stalwarts like Tamim Iqbal at the top of the order will hurt Bangladesh’s chances but it also presents a great opportunity for the rest of the team to step up to the occasion.
A total of two debutants have been named in the two teams’ respective Test squads. Both opening batsmen have been waiting in the wings for quite some time now and will be looking to make a mark in cricket’s toughest format.
Here’s looking at the two players who can make their debut in the upcoming Test series and cement their spot if given a chance to feature in the playing XI.
#1 Saif Hassan
21-year-old right-hand opening batsman, Saif Hassan's name has been doing the rounds ever since his strong performances in the domestic arena back home. In 37 first-class matches so far, he has scored 2245 runs at an average of 45.81 with a career-best of 220 not out.
His List A records speak highly of his ability to score big. In 62 List A games, he has scored 2377 runs at an average of 42.44 runs with six big hundreds. Moreover, he remained unbeaten on three occasions.
In the Dhaka Premier League, Hassan ended as the top-scorer with 814 runs at an astonishing average of 62.61 in 16 matches. He scored three centuries and four half-centuries with a top score of 148 not out.
Hassan has the ability to judge the length of the ball brilliantly and he is known for his patience in leaving the ball outside the off-stump. He has a strong front-foot game which allows him to play mesmerizing cover drives.
Hassan made his first-class debut on February 8, 2015, for Barisal Division against Dhaka Metropolis. In his last four innings, he scored two hundreds, including a List A ton against Sri Lanka A and a stupendous knock of 220 not out for Dhaka Division. He also scored an eye-catching 72 for the Dhaka Division recently and will be hoping to make his mark in this series.
#2 Shubman Gill
Being the recipient of the best junior player award on two successive occasions helped set the stage for Shubman Gill's meteoric rise.
Gill's early days were overshadowed by the rise of former India Under-19 captain Prithvi Shaw. However, a combination of international exposure courtesy the IPL and India A tours as well as the sidelining of Shaw did a world of good for the Punjab batsman. An injury to Shaw coupled with a ban of eight months for consumption of a banned substance brought Gill into the selector’s radar.
Gill came into his own when he smashed a triple hundred (351 runs) in an Inter-District Under-16 Tournament for Punjab. He went on to score a double-hundred in the Vijay Merchant Trophy for Punjab. He was picked as the man of the series during the Youth ODI series against England at the under-19 level as well.
Since then, Gill has represented India in two ODIs, scoring only 16 runs. In 15 first-class games, he averages an impressive 69.77 with a top-score of 268. In the 54 List A games he has played, he has amassed six hundreds and 10 fifties at an average of 46.29.
The first Test starts tomorrow at the Holkar Stadium in Indore followed by the second Test match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata from November 22.
Also see - India Bangladesh schedule