Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said it would be a huge occasion for the people of the south-western city of Khulna when Bangladesh take on the West Indies in the second and final Test at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium today.
The match starts at 9:30am.
This region of the country has produced so many successful players for the nation but for the first time they are going to host a Test match; so understandably there has been a lot of excitement in every nook and corner about the match. And obviously the onus is now on Mushfiqur's men to respond to the big moment.
In other way, it's however also a big moment for the Tigers themselves as the expectation is higher after the way they fought in the first Test in Mirpur. It's their time to prove that they are consistent enough in the longer-version format and try to improve their batting in the second innings for what they suffered a 77-run defeat in the first Test.
"It is a huge moment for Khulna. We hope to start off well here," said Mushfiqur.
Though not too many matches have been played here, the general consensus is that the pitch will behave more or less like Dhaka, a batting friendly track, and the West Indies once again will try to dominate Bangladesh batsmen with raw pace and an array of shot balls to take the series 2-0. So, everybody will be looking forward to see how the Bangladesh batsmen react in this match and Mushfiqur was well aware of the fact.
"There are not many players in the world who play the short ball very well, but at the same time batsmen work hard to overcome this problem. We do the same. Riyad bhai [Mahmudullah Riyad] played very well in the first Test, and the guts he showed was what we needed. Watching that, we were inspired. They won't be bowling bouncers all the time, but we have to make sure we see off the tough period safely," Mushfiqur said when asked about the chances of West Indies coming up with the same plan what they did in the second innings of the first Test.
"I didn't play here in the NCL [National Cricket League], but we talked to players who've played here. It is a good wicket, helps batsmen, and from the third or fourth day, it helps the spinners. The bounce is good, true, so the pace bowlers will get help," he added.
The wicketkeeper-batsman said that there were lot of positives in their performance in the first Test from where they can take inspiration and also confirmed that they didn't feel any pressure following their impressive show in the first four days in the first Test and their collapse in the second innings.
"We played well over five days against a very good attack and we bowled them out once. So we take positives from that. It isn't a pressure on us, but we do expect to do well in Khulna.
"Playing well in Dhaka and scoring over 500 runs, it was a huge relief because we were playing after 11 months. At the same time, we are not taking the loss lightly. It is a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment, about what happened in the first and second innings [in Dhaka]," he explained.
Debutant off-spinner Shohag Gazi's nine-wicket haul and Naeem Islam's patient batting were the highlights for Bangladesh in the first Test and it is only natural that the West Indies think-tank will have their plans for the two, so it would be a challenge for them to perform in the second Test.
"Obviously they will have a plan for them, but I have the confidence in them," said Mushfiqur.
And the Bangladesh skipper said that the first two days will be crucial and made it clear that they will play "positive cricket" in the second Test, which is going to be a real test for the Tigers.