Before the much-anticipated tour of India, Bangladesh suffered a big blow when they lost the services of two seasoned stalwarts – Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal. The absence of Shakib and Tamim made all the difference in the recently-concluded T20I series where the visitors badly missed the experience of the star duo. Result – Bangladesh lost the three-match rubber 1-2 despite pushing India to the wall on many occasions.

After being handed over the captaincy duties in the Test format in absence of Shakib, newly-appointed skipper Mominul Haque is confident that the added responsibility will not affect his batting. The 28-year-old Mominul has replaced Shakib, who was suspended for two years (one year suspended) by the ICC for failing to report multiple corrupt approaches. Asked about missing Shakib and Tamim Iqbal, Mominul said others are more aware in the absence of the two stalwarts. “I think three players are missing because Shakib Bhai is equal to two players. Yes, it will be challenging. But there is no scope of thinking about it too much now,”said the left-hander, who is also Bangladesh’s premier batsman with eight hundreds in 36 Tests.

“We have to move away. I think due to their absence, everyone is more focused and will play with extra responsibility,”

Speaking about the pressure of captaining the national side, Mominul is optimistic about his team’s chances of upstaging an accomplished India in the Test series starting in Indore on Thursday. “I am not feeling pressure just because I have been appointed captain. The way I batted before captaincy, I will bat in the same way now.”

“I always try to think about the positive aspects. There are a few positives in being captain as well. Your knowledge about the game increases. You tend to become more responsible as a player. So I think, it will help me improve my performance,” Mominul further added.

Mominul feels that since expectations from his side are not particularly high, the pressure is also a bit less. Asked about India’s pace bowling might Mominul said: “India is such a team that they can challenge different opponents in different ways.

“Maybe they will challenge us with spin attack. We are ready to face both spin and pace attack challenge from India. Definitely, it will be tough for us. But we are preparing to face it.”

Asked what has changed in Bangladesh cricket in nearly two decades from the time they first played a Test in 2000, Mominul pointed at the attitudinal shift. “I think the mentality of players has changed. Players have become more disciplined. Also, they are more eager to play five-day games as well,” he added.

While Virat Kohli termed Mustafizur Rahaman as a threat, Mominul didn’t disclose whether the pacer will be a part of playing XI. “We have not planned about the team and the playing eleven has not been selected yet. You will know tomorrow if he plays,” Mominul signed off said.