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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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Tigers-WI first Test from today

Shohag set for debut

Shohag Gazi, the 21-year-old off-spinner, is all set to make his Test debut today when Bangladesh take on West Indies in the first Test of a two-match series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

The match will begin at 9:30 am and will be telecast live on state-run BTV and satellite television Channel 9.

The Bangladesh team management has confirmed that the Tigers will be playing the game without opener Nazimuddin, pace-bowler Abul Hassan and slow-left arm bowler Elias Sunny. Gazi's inclusion in the playing eleven will make him the 64th player to represent Bangladesh in Test cricket.

The off-spinner from Barisal, who was taken into the squad on his longstanding performance in first-class cricket, will be expected to counter the left-hander heavy West Indian batting line-up. This is also the first time since 2002 that a specialist off-spinner will be representing the national team, the last being Fahim Muntasir.

The exclusion of Nazimuddin, who opened the innings in Bangladesh's last Test against Pakistan last year, made way for top-order batsman Junaid Siddique to return to Test fold after a gap of almost two years. The last time the batsman was in the Test side was in January 2010.

Naeem Islam, who played against the West Indies last year but missed out on the series against Pakistan in December, will return to the Tigers' middle-order. The all-rounder's new-found ability to occupy the crease earned him the recall.

As per the current combination, Mushfiqur Rahim will have the liberty of using five slow bowlers including Mahmudullah Riyad, Nasir Hossain and Shakib Al Hasan on a pitch that is expected to assist them.

The match will also see the return of Rubel Hossain, who'll be sharing the new ball with Shahadat Hossain. Shahriar Nafees, who didn't represent Bangladesh in any format of the game this year, is expected to occupy the number three spot in the batting order.

On the other hand, the return of Chris Gayle into their ranks and the discovery of mystery-spinner Sunil Narine, the current West Indies seem to be stronger than the one that toured here last year.

Bangladesh will also have to deal with the pace of Fidel Edwards who performed a key role in the visitors' series win last year.

This will be the fifth series played between the two teams. West Indies have won four of the eight Test matches played. The Tigers though have fond memories of the Caribbean as they recorded their first overseas Test series victory in 2009.

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