Sabbir Rahman will be the biggest name to make his debut in the series for Bangladesh    Getty Images
Sabbir Rahman will be the biggest name to make his debut in the series for Bangladesh Getty Images

A Test after a span of more than a year and that too against a team like England is not a cakewalk. Bangladesh will lock horns with England in a two-Test series. It was expected that the squad will have a number of changes; a little bit more than what was expected. They have included four of them in the squad for the opening Test, and chances are that the Chittagong crowd witnesses a couple of Test debuts, as the two teams face each other on Thursday morning. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Bangladesh vs England, 1st Test at Chittagong

While England are the on-paper favourites for the match as well as the series, it will really not be a huge upset if the hosts take away the series. England have an arguably half-strength team and without James Anderson, the pace attack has already lost the shine it used to have, and that is one fact that will help Bangladesh step closer to the desired victory. The advantage of playing in known conditions was already their with them, and in addition, there will be a lot of new faces in the England side as well, who will play a Test in Bangladesh for the first time.

Let us talk about what the debutants can bring in.

Debut matches happen to be very crucial for every individual. It is the first time one is exposed to the bigger circle, among players who have more experience. Again, it has the challenge of holding one’s nerves that no matter what, one must not lose confidence upon their abilities. It is not always possible to produce a match-winning performance on debut, but his on-field presence makes a lot of difference in how his career might progress.

Among the four uncapped names that Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) have included in the squad, Sabbir Rahman is the most experienced (in terms of international exposure in other formats) and is in all likeliness to receive his Test cap at Chittagong.

Nurul Hasan has also played for Bangladesh earlier in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), but the ones who are yet to have a taste of international cricket are Mehedi Hasan and Kamrul Islam Rabbi. Let us have a look at what made the selectors pick these names ahead of many players awaiting a comeback in international cricket for Bangladesh.

Sabbir Rahman: From a spinner to one of the most dependable top-order batsmen of the current Bangladesh limited-overs squad, Sabbir has evolved for good and so has his game. Though he averages 29.66 on ODIs, there is more to his achievements than the numbers.

Playing international cricket for just a couple of years, the cricketer has shown a lot of maturity than was expected of him. It all came at a time while Bangladesh needed names apart from stars such as Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir emerged as that knights in shining armour.

Sabbir’s knocks came against big guns such as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan and especially at the time of need. In these two years of his career, Sabbir has played in two high-profile tournaments such as ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and ICC World T20 2016. His performance in Asia Cup 2016 remained to be the best as he emerged as the second-highest run-getter of the tournament, leaving behind the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, playing equal number of matches.

Three half-centuries each in ODIs and T20Is within two years of international debut has cemented his place in the squad for the limited-overs, and now it is time for him to show his game in the longest format. But there will be a lot of challenges awaiting him the stress for playing continuously for days, the wicket behaving differently everyday and more. The batsman will have to conquer it all to become a regular member of the Test squad. He can also serve as a part-time option with the ball if needed.

Nurul Hasan: Though the player has some experience of playing international cricket, all he has in his credits is an unbeaten 30 off 17 balls against Zimbabwe. But what possibly got him into the Test squad against England is his First-Class average of 41.81. The player recently scored an unbeaten 103 in the National Cricket League, Bangladesh’s First-Class tournament, which marks his good form.

Mehedi Hasan: A promising young all-rounder, who stole the limelight in the Bangladesh domestic circuit, Mehedi Hasan has all the reasons to find a place in the national side. Playing 12 First-Class matches, the player has scored five half-centuries; while with his off-spin, he has scalped 41 wickets. One of his best performances came in this season of National Cricket League as he took 4 wickets and scored 73 runs in a match.

Kamrul Islam Rabbi: The fourth name in the list of the uncapped players is that of a pacer who idolises Dale Steyn and Wasim Akram. Rabbi first came to notice as he was a part of the Bangladesh side for the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2010. Though the player picked up only 6 wickets in 4 matches, his action was highly praised; and after spending a lot of time playing in domestic circuit, he has again been picked by the selectors for the national side. From 47 First-Class matches, the bowler has 103 wickets and is a rare talent in Bangladesh bowling with consistent pace.

While there remains the inexperience of the fresh players, there is also the promise that they will bring in some surprise elements to the game, making it richer. If both the players play to their potential, the series is sure to be an entertainer, and the hosts may as well find some new names out of the series to persist with.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)