Buoyed West Indies start as favourites against depleted Bangladesh
Test cricket is back in the Caribbean and it features two teams on different plains- a depleted Bangladesh side is up against a West Indies unit, buoyed by a fighting a series win over England earlier in the year.
Through personal reasons and injuries, the tourists are hampered heading into the series, which could hint towards a remake of the 2018 tour where on the first day, West Indies routed them out for 43, their lowest Test total. The visitors went belly-up for the rest of that Test series, which lasted a total of six days.
This current tour of the Caribbean is their penultimate in this cycle of the World Test Championship, and they continue fight their own demons. They have just been knocked over by Sri Lanka at home, after getting hammered by South Africa previously.
Shakib Al Hasan was handed the reins, but his apathy towards Test cricket is well known.
To make matters worse, Bangladesh will be without Mushfiqur Rahim- their top-scorer against Sri Lanka – after he opted to go on Hajj, as well as Taskin Ahmed and Shoriful Islam who are both recuperating from injuries.
And to add to all that, Mushfiqur’s middle-order replacement Yasir Ali has also been ruled out due to a back injury.
Meanwhile, hosts West Indies are a bit short of recent Test experience, having only played a single Test series in 2022. But the 1-0 win against England in March was reassurance that with Kraigg Brathwaite in charge, they were perhaps back on track.
Kemar Roach has passed his fitness test, and as such West Indies can threaten Bangladesh with a proper pace attack that also includes Alzarri Joseph, Jayden Seales and newcomer Anderson Phillip.
There are also first-time call-ups for wicketkeeper-batter Devon Thomas and left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie for the series.
Brathwaite will lead the batting line-up with his deputy Jermaine Blackwood, to go with Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva and Kyle Mayers. Raymon Reifer also offers an interesting choice with his left-arm pace and batting.
The first Test against West Indies starts in North Sound on June 16, while the second Test begins on June 24 in St Lucia.
West Indies’ squad for the first Test: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-capt), Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Joshua Da Silva, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, Devon Thomas
Reserves: Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Shermon Lewis
Bangladesh Test squad: Mominul Haque, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Litton Das (wk), Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Khaled Ahmed, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mosaddek Hossain, Ebadot Hossain, Shohidul Islam, Rezaur Rahman Raja