The likelihood of a Pakistan tour has finally seen the light of day. After a lot of deliberation, negotiation and dialogue, both the boards have consented to a tour of a country starved of international cricket for more than a decade. The tour will be completed in three phases.
Initially, it was difficult on the part of the board (BCB) to readily accept the offer of playing cricket in Pakistan due to factors that are beyond the game. Besides the security factor, it was the unwillingness of the players that also that came in between the making of the series. However, cricketing sense finally prevailed and a historic chapter is about to unfold once the series commences.
The recent series to India may serve Bangladesh a good lesson as the team was without two of its most senior players, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal and yet managed to win one T20 match before being bamboozled in the test matches. The audacity to agree to play a day-night test match with Pink ball was another landmark achieved by the Tigers who were blown away into submission despite putting up a brave front.
The Pakistani's, on the other hand, are a team striving to find its bearings once again in international cricket with the seniors like Younis Khan and Misbahul Huq no more amongst its ranks. Also, stalwarts like Azhar Ali and Asad Shafique are not quite being able to carry on in the same vein. The only silver lining has been the undisputed class and talent of Babar Azam, who alone has shone brightly in all three formats and given his present form, looks to be an ominous prospect for the Tigers.
Newcomer Abid Ali have broken quite a few records recently, and with potentials like Haris Sohail and Shan Masood, the Pakistan team would be keenly looking forward to enhancing their rankings during the ICC test championships by beating Bangladesh. The Pakistan fast bowling attack spearheaded by the young sensation Naseem Shah who at the age of 16 has been the youngest to take 5 wickets in a test match and the highly-rated Shaheen Afridi is likely to give the Bangladeshi batsmen some uncomfortable moments with their speed and bounce. Yasir Shah will lead the spin department and surely will pose a tough threat to the Bangladeshi batting order sans Shakib Al Hasan.
With the BBPL reaching its climax, the selectors should be feeling quite encouraged to see that many new faces have emerged during the tournament. Mehedy Hasan Rana, Mahedy Hasan the all-rounder, Hasan Mahmud the young speedster and players like Afif Hossain have also excelled during the tournament. With the likes of Imrul Kayes and the belligerent Najmul Hossain Shanto showing brilliant form, the selectors have a lot to think considering the tremendous form both the left-handers have been in. Even Liton Das who's sublime stroke play and the young Mehdi Hasan Miraj's aggressive batting at the top will give quite a few options while selecting the best XI for T20's in Pakistan.
It would be unfortunate for the Bangladesh cricket team to lose out on the services of Shakib Al Hasan. As the mercurial all-rounder's presence always gave an added advantage. However, the tremendous form of Mushfiqur Rahman during the ongoing BBPL, augurs well for the team but the question mark for his availability may remain as the former captain had expressed his lack of interest in touring Pakistan. Mahmudullah Riyadh and Tamim Iqbal are the other two seniors who may not have been in red hot form but will likely to make it count during crunch moments given their experience.