Bangladesh v Afghanistan Test - Men
Rashid to become Test cricket's youngest captain
Leg-spin sensation to lead Afghans in their third Test match, with stern challenge expected from hosts Bangladesh
4 September 2019, 11:00 PM AEST
Afghanistan's spin prodigy Rashid Khan faces a tough challenge as he captains his side for the first time against Bangladesh in only his war-torn country's third Test starting Thursday.
Afghanistan obtained Test status in 2017. In their first outing in June 2018 India thrashed them inside two days, but in the second in March they beat fellow newcomers Ireland by seven wickets.
Leg-spinner Rashid was named skipper for all three formats after their dire World Cup campaign in the United Kingdom when they lost all nine matches and were dogged by several controversies.
The Adelaide Strikers star will become the youngest ever Test captain at the age of 20 years 350 days when he steps out in the Test match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.
He will overtake Zimbabwe's Tatenda Taibu, who made his debut as Test captain just eight days older than Rashid against Sri Lanka at Harare in 2004.
"(I am) pretty excited. It is a new role to be a captain of the team and will try my best to be positive and enjoy the game," Rashid told reporters last Friday after the arrival of his team in Chittagong.
The Afghan side has been through turmoil in recent months.
In April 2019, the Afghanistan Cricket Board named Rahmat Shah as Test captain, replacing Asghar Afghan, who led the side in their first two Test matches.
But Rashid's appointment as Test captain after the World Cup means Shah was removed before he took charge of a match.
They will be up against a side who have won five of their last 10 Tests at home, including one each against England and Australia.
Bangladesh are expected to field a spin-heavy attack against the visitors for the one-off Test, but interim Afghan coach Andy Moles said they have no fear.
"We have massive respect for Bangladesh team. They are a level above us. (But) we are not scared of Bangladesh," Moles told reporters in Chittagong on Monday.
"We are under no illusion that this is going to be a tough examination of our skills. If we could show application and concentration, we are capable of doing something special over the next five days."
Afghan superstar Rashid Khan has a habit of collecting great players' bats, however, one has been stolen! He tells the story... pic.twitter.com/pj97NuunFP— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) June 1, 2019
The one-off Test series will be the first assignment for Bangladesh's new head coach Russell Domingo, who was appointed in August replacing Englishman Steve Rhodes.
The 45-year old South African said he did not intend to bring any change to the system that already worked for Bangladesh.
"It is going to be my first Test for Bangladesh. I want to see how they perform. And it is difficult to make wholesale changes to a system that has worked really well for them in the last couple of Tests," he said.
"I am sitting back to see how things pan out for the first Test. The selectors and Shakib (Al Hasan) have led me to thinking in a certain way, and I am pretty comfortable with it before I imprint my way on to the team.
Afghanistan will also play a tri-nation Twenty20 tournament from September 13 with Zimbabwe and hosts Bangladesh.
Bangladesh squad: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah Riyad, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Liton Das, Taijul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain, Nayeem Hasan, Mehedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadat Hossain, Abu Jayed.
Afghanistan squad: Rashid Khan (c), Ihsanullah Janat, Javid Ahmadi, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Asghar Afghan, Ikram Alikhil, Mohammad Nabi, Qais Ahmad, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Yamin Ahmadzai, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Afsar Zazai, Shapoor Zadran.