IND vs BAN: Mominul Haque relishes crack at Virat Kohli

Bangladesh’s new Test captain is excited to lead his side against Kohli, “the best player in the world,” and the Indian team in the Test series.

File Photo: Mominul Haque has played 36 Test matches for Bangladesh.   -  K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Mominul Haque says he was stunned to be named Bangladesh Test captain in place of the banned Shakib Al Hasan but is relishing the chance to take on Virat Kohli’s side in India.

Shakib was banned last week by the International Cricket Council for two years, one of them suspended, for failing to declare attempts to bribe him. Such is the fame of 32-year-old superstar Shakib that around 700 people took to the streets of his home town in protest, with the prime minister expressing her anguish at the punishment.

Haque, 28, who has never led a top team in domestic cricket, told reporters ahead of the first Test in India next week that he was surprised to get the role. “I was not ready at all. It was completely unexpected. I never thought even in my dreams that I will be the captain of Bangladesh or I will captain the Test side,” he said late on Wednesday.

‘Very excited’

Bangladesh’s first two-Test series in India begins November 14 in Indore and ends with the inaugural day-night Test between the sides in Kolkata from November 22. “I am very excited as I think [Kohli] is the best player in the world, the best batsman in all formats combined. Thinking about that makes me feel good,” Mominul said.

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Mominul has played 36 Tests and scored 2,613 runs and has the highest average among his country’s batsmen at 41.47. “We have not played a Test under the floodlights and with the pink ball. It is a very good chance to play good cricket,” the left-hander said while insisting the captaincy would not affect his game.

No pressure

“I never considered captaincy as pressure or responsibility. If I keep thinking that as a captain I have to take extra responsibility to carry the team forward then I will be in some pressure,” he said. “But if I play my natural game, and think that I am a batsman who needs to score for his team, then it will not have any effect,” he added.

Mominul is not part of the Twenty20 squad in India, led by experienced batsman Mahmudullah Riyad, which is 1-0 up in a three-match series after winning the opener by seven wickets in New Delhi. The second match is in Rajkot on Thursday.

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