Tamim Iqbal gave Bangladesh a glimmer of hope for the first test against England starting at Lord’s on Thursday by promising to take his place at the top of the order despite a painful wrist injury.
The dashing left-hand opener has been told he can play with his left wrist taped, although he may eventually need surgery.
“I don’t want to take any chances but I’m batting okay in the nets and the pain is getting better day by day,” he told reporters.
Tamim, who scored three fluent half-centuries during the two-test home series against England this year, is one of Bangladesh’s two world-class players.
The other is captain and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who expects to play despite contracting chicken pox.
Cooler weather and showers predicted for the weekend after a brief burst of searingly hot weather in south-east England will also create the usual problems for visiting teams at the start of the English summer with assistance for the home bowlers.
England have rested their Twenty20 captain Paul Collingwood and all-rounder Stuart Broad at the start of a hectic season, giving an opportunity to Eoin Morgan to show he can take his one-day form into the test arena.
Morgan does not have a great first-class record but the England management are impressed with his temperament under pressure and the Bangladesh attack provides as gentle an introduction to test cricket as anyone could wish.
England begin the home season buoyed by their win in the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean and with an Ashes defence against losing finalists Australia to look forward to at the end of the year.
After the two-test Bangladesh series they play four tests against Pakistan, who are condemned to play their international cricket abroad because of the uncertain security situation at home.
Pakistan also play two tests against Australia and for the first time since the rain-drenched 1912 Triangular series between England, Australia and South Africa, Lord’s will stage three tests.
Even by their own turbulent standards, Pakistan have endured a spectacularly troubled year.
The International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit is investigating their woeful performances in Australia and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has banned former captains Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik after an internal inquiry.
The pair were still included in a preliminary tour party on Tuesday pending their appeals against the bans along with fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who has had more than his share of brushes with the Pakistan authorities.
They will be captained by the flamboyant wrist-spinning all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who ended a four-year self-imposed exile from test cricket at the weekend and who is, himself, appealing against a fine for ball-tampering.
The clear indication is that the PCB is determined to field the best side it can muster regardless of its own sanctions, a team who at their mercurial best can fully test both England and Australia and give useful hints to the course of the subsequent Ashes series.
(Editing by Ed Osmond; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)