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Cricket news - Championship will improve our focus on Test cricket: Mominul

According to the Test Championship schedule, Bangladesh are slated to play 15 Tests in less than 18 months.

Bangladesh batsman Mominul Haque opines that the introduction of the Test Championship will help his team focus harder on the longest format of the game. While Bangladesh continue to make rapid strides in white-ball cricket, their performances in Tests have been underwhelming for a side that played its inaugural game way back in 2000.

''I think the Test championship is good for us and personally, I am very happy as we do not generally focus much on Test cricket," said Mominul at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday (August 22).

According to the Test Championship schedule, Bangladesh are slated to play 15 Tests in less than 18 months, with a one-off Test against Afghanistan to precede this. That's a lot of cricket for the Asian side who've only played 26 Tests since January 2015.

''If there is more opportunity to play Test cricket, we can perform better as a team and improve our Test ranking," said Mominul, who has been earmarked as one of Bangladesh's Test specialists. ''You have to be physically and mentally strong to play Test matches and I am used to playing only Test matches, so I guess it won't be a problem for me."

Bangladesh's Test Championship starts with an away tour of India, comprising of two matches in November this year. With them hosting Afghanistan for the one-off Test prior to that tour, Mominul is optimistic of his side getting adequate preparation before the high-profile trip.

''Before playing the Test Championship, it is a good opportunity for us [to play against Afghanistan in the one-off Test at home]. It is going to be a good game [preparation-wise] because we are going to face of lot spin against them [Afghanistan] before playing India.

''We know their [India] spinners are very dangerous in subcontinental conditions.'' he said.

While Bangladesh's Test record at home isn't embarrassing, it's their statistics abroad that cut a sorry figure, with just a solitary win from 11 games over the last four-and-a-half years. In such a scenario, playing the top-ranked Test side in their den won't be an easy task but Mominul appeared unfazed at the challenge.

''Recently, I played a couple of three-day and four-day matches in India and when you are playing extensively, it is always easier to adapt. I feel that if you think it is difficult, it is difficult to play Test cricket and if you think it is easy, then it is easy. So a lot depends on the mindset that you are carrying.''

Unlike Test cricket, Mominul has barely tasted any success in the shorter forms and a cumulative of just 34 white-ball games since his debut in 2012 shows that the think tank hasn't considered him to be specialist in limited-overs. While the southpaw has a solid technique and attractive strokes at his disposal, his inability to force the pace has been a major issue for him.

Despite the obvious disappointment at not being an all-format batsman, Mominul isn't too worried about where he stands at present. When asked if Bangladesh's new coach Russell Domingo had spoken to him about the same, the 27-year-old chose to shrug it off.

''We did not have any conversations about technical matters at the ground. We just had our initial interaction. Let's see what happens next,'' said Mominul, who is extremely attached to his personal coach Mohammad Salahuddin. While the latter is known to guide his disciple very closely, Mominul maintained that as an international cricketer, it was about choosing the advises that he needed to take.

''It's not like I will take every advice of him, it's not like that. He will have many advises; I will pick the ones that will need. If I like it, I will take it. That way. I hope everything will be good."

Mominul's last limited-overs call-up came in late 2018 but he wasn't able to create an impression in those outings and not surprisingly, failed to make the World Cup squad this year. While getting back into form in the longest format is a priority, Mominul quashed speculations that he was targeting the Bangladesh Premier League as the vehicle for another white-ball comeback.

''Not BPL, I'm not thinking like that. But, you can't wait only to play Test cricket. You need to keep practicing if you want to improve your skills. That's why I do extra practice.

''If I keep a good average in Test cricket or perform well in BPL, then I think I will have a good opportunity,'' he concluded.

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