Indore: Bangladesh captain Mominul Haque said Wednesday the absence of banned all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will be like missing two players, as the team prepared for their two-Test series in India.
Bangladesh arrived in India in shock after Shakib was handed a two-year ban, with one-year suspended, for failing to declare illegal approaches by a bookmaker in 2018.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) ban ruled Shakib out of the tour and next year's World T20 in Australia.
The touring side is also missing prolific opener Tamim Iqbal, who took a break due to family reasons.
"We are missing three players in two players. Shakib bhai (brother) is two players in one, and then you have Tamim bhai," Mominul told reporters on the eve of the first Test in Indore starting Thursday.
"It is challenging, but I also see it as a chance to do well for the rest of the players."
Mominul, much to his surprise, was named Test captain in place of Shakib and the batsman feels the responsibility will only make him a better player.
"I will probably be playing like I have always played as a batsman," said the left-hander.
"The positive side of captaincy is that your cricket gyan (knowledge) becomes better."
The 28-year-old added: "It is a huge opportunity for me as one of the junior players. Not everyone becomes Test captain, so I want to take this opportunity to do something more for the country."
The series is Bangladesh's first in the newly introduced world Test championship led by India with two series sweeps under their belt.
Mominul said it was a "great opportunity" for Bangladesh's players to make an impression.
"Playing a full series against India is a great opportunity for everyone in the team," said Mominul.
"Everyone wants to start well here, and on top of it we are playing the Test championship. Makes it a bigger opportunity for the players."
The second match of the series will be a day-night affair with the pink ball making its India debut at Kolkata's Eden Gardens.
Mominul said "neither side has played pink-ball cricket", and that would spur them on to do well in the series.
"I am not feeling pressure just because I have been appointed captain. The way I batted before captaincy, I will bat in the same way now," said the left-hander, who is also the team's premier batsman with eight hundreds in 36 Tests.
"I always try to think about the positive aspects. There are a few positives in being captain as well. Your knowledge about the game increases. You tend to become more responsible as a player. So I think, it will help me improve my performance," he added.
Mominul feels that since expectations from his side are not particularly high, the pressure is also a bit less.
Asked about India's pace bowling might, Mominul said: "India is such a team that they can challenge different opponents in different ways.
"May be they will challenge us with spin attack. We are ready to face both spin and pace attack challenge from India. Definitely, it will be tough for us. But we are preparing to face it."
Asked what has changed in Bangladesh cricket in nearly two decades from the time they first played a Test in 2000, Mominul pointed at the attitudinal shift.
"I think the mentality of players has changed. Players have become more disciplined. Also they are more eager to play five-day games as well," he said.
While Virat Kohli termed Mustafizur Rahaman as a threat, Mominul didn't disclose whether the pacer will be a part of playing XI.
"We have not planned about the team and the playing eleven has not been selected yet. You will know tomorrow if he plays," he said.
Asked about missing Shakib and Tamim Iqbal, Mominul said others are more aware in the absence of the two stalwarts.
"I think three players are missing because Shakib bhai is equal to two players. Yes, it will be challenging. But there is no scope of thinking about it too much now," he said.
"We have to move away. I think due to their absence, everyone is more focused and will play with extra responsibility," he added
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