Bangladesh bid to start 'afresh' in first Test for a year

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Mominul Haque at a training session on Monday

Bangladesh's first Test in almost a year, against the West Indies in Chittagong on Wednesday, is a chance for the Tigers to start "afresh", captain Mominul Haque said Tuesday.

It will be Bangladesh's first home match in the World Test Championship, a competition where they have yet to secure any points.

The two-Test series culminates in Dhaka from February 11-15.

"Since we are returning (to Test cricket), it gives us another opportunity to start afresh," Mominul told reporters at a virtual press conference.

"Every team is favourite on their home turf. That doesn't mean we are considering the West Indies as a weak team. We are concentrating on ourselves and we will try to give our best."

Before the coronavirus pandemic halted international sporting events, Bangladesh lost all their three Test Championship matches away against India and Pakistan.

In their last Test series against the West Indies at home in 2018, Bangladesh won 2-0.

The visitors are missing several key players, including captain Jason Holder, who opted not to travel over coronavirus fears.

Unlike Bangladesh, the West Indies have played two Test series against England and New Zealand in the past eight months.

But Windies coach Phil Simmons said that would not provide an advantage for his team.

"I think Bangladesh will always have (the) edge no matter who they are playing at home, even though they haven't played cricket for a year. They are a very strong side when they play at home," he said.

"You can have a lack of international cricket, but you will be training properly.

"It takes away the rust, which is only a mental thing. It will go away after the first couple of hours of the first day."

Stand-in skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said: "We lost the series here last time, which is the number one motivation for us.

"I played against these guys before, but some of the guys haven't. We have seen footage and from a batsman's point of view, we have our plans in place."

Brathwaite said the Windies needed be wary of a strong Bangladesh spin attack, bolstered by the return of star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, set to play his first Test since 2019 following a ban for failing to report corrupt approaches.

"They are quality bowlers but I think we have the skills to come out on top and get big runs. I am backing the batters. The guys have put in some work, and we all look forward to the challenge," he added.

Bangladesh squad: Mominul Haque (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Najmul Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun, Liton Das, Yasir Ali, Saif Hassan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Shadman Islam, Nayeem Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain, Hasan Mahmud

West Indies squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer, Jomel Warrican

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