We have moved on from Hathurusingha, says Mashrafe

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza during the press conference today. Photo: BCB

 

Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza insisted that they have moved on from Chandika Hathrusingha and suggested that execution will be the defining factor when Tigers face Sri Lanka tomorrow in the tri-nation series.

Hathurusingha’s tenure was the most successful one in Bangladesh’s cricket history. Even the Sri Lankan himself pointed it out ahead of the series that Bangladesh are competitive and have not lost a home series in two and half years.

Last time that Bangladesh faced Sri Lanka, both Hathurusingha and Thilan Samaraweera were on Tigers’ side. Bangladesh drew all three Test, ODI and T20 series 1-1 during their tour of Sri Lanka in 2017.

Thilan Samaraweera, who was Bangladesh’s batting coach has lots of knowledge regarding the Tigers’ just as Sri Lanka’s head coach Hathurusingha. Mashrafe insisted that execution of ideas is more vital than which coach is in which dressing room because at the end of the day ideas are only ideas, waiting to be materialized when a player executes the ideas on the field of play. Mashrafe reiterated that the team has already moved on from Hathurusingha’s ideas.

“In international cricket it is normal for a coach to face off against their former players. We have moved on. When Hathurusingha left, we forgot all of his plans. There is no opportunity to think about him anymore cause we are trying to adjust to the ideas of our current coaches,” Mahsrafe said.

He suggested that discussion regarding Hathurusingha does not make any impact.

 

“At the back of our mind it is about playing and winning the game and discussions [regarding Hathurusingha] don’t matter. Plus if you think about this things, ultimately it brings on added pressure.”

Mashrafe insisted with some words that Tigers’ will play the same way whether Hathurusingha is here or not. “There is no such thing as adding surprises. We will play in the same manner that we would have played.

“When Hathurusingha was here, we were still saying that we want to play with confidence and freedom.

Tigers’ are focused on getting one over their former coach and that would certainly motivate the players when they play Sri Lanka tomorrow.

“We want to play the same way we did against Zimbabwe and everyone is focused on that,” Mashrafe said regarding the positive mindset that the team is harbouring.

No fun without a challenge: Shakib

Shakib Al Hasan

When Tamim Iqbal (R) and Shakib Al Hasan are on song, it's very difficult for an opposing captain to stop the Tigers from winning a game. Here the two superstars of Bangladesh enjoy their share of the spotlight in an impressive eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the opening game of the tri-series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. Photo: Firoz Ahmed

 

The New Year saw the same old Shakib Al Hasan dealing with new challenges and leading from the front, be it opening the innings with the ball and picking early wickets or coming in to bat at number three. His excellence was not restricted to the field of play; the champion all-rounder also made a statement after the game which has its own significance.

This was the third time that Shakib has batted at number three in ODIs, a position that has been a big concern for the Tigers' team management over the past few years.

When asked whether it is a challenge for him to bat at number three the ace all-rounder replied in his usual style: “Actually it's a new challenge. It's difficult to enjoy if you don't face new challenges. I am hoping to score a big one after getting set in the next innings. Those who bat at No 3 or 4, they have to make use of good starts,” player-of-the-match Shakib told reporters after the Tigers' eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the tri-series opener at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

The home side had done their homework and opened with spin from both ends with Shakib and fellow left-arm spinner Sunzamul Islam. Shakib bagged three wickets, two of which came in the very first over of the innings and Zimbabwe were not able to fully recover from that early twin strike, eventually being bowled out for 170.

“We were always successful against Zimbabwe because of left-arm spin. They are more comfortable against pace, which is why we started with spin. There was help in the pitch in the early stages. The wicket eased out as the game progressed. We needed early wickets,” he said.

 

According to Shakib it was an expected win for the Tigers and he credited the bowlers for the clinical show.

“Our win was predictable. I expected them to bat better but I think we bowled really well today. Mustafizur [Rahman], Mashrafe [Bin Mortaza] and Rubel [Hossain] did great work. Rubel always bowls when batsmen are set and scoring runs, but he always delivers for the team. Nasir's four overs were important too,” Shakib added.

He also said that it is important to start the New Year on a winning note and that the momentum is crucial at the start of a tri-series. The all-rounder thought that the win will boost morale ahead of the tougher challenge against Sri Lanka.

According to Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer, it was Shakib's early blows in the first over that they were unable to recover from.

“I thought the wicket stayed pretty much the same, I thought the par score would be 240-250 but it's always going to be tough if you lose two wickets in the first over. I think if we got to the par score it would have been tough to chase but we were just not good enough with the bat today,” Cremer told the media after the game.

Tigers take on Zim as new era starts

The cold and fog may not allow the sun to shine bright on the skies of Dhaka today but the Tigers will be hoping for a bright start to the new year following a rather gloomy atmosphere since their disastrous tour of South Africa which ended on a lowly note.

 

From the surprising departure of Chandika Hathurusingha following his resignation in the middle of the South Africa tour to dropping two of the most exciting prospects in Soumya Sarkar and Taskin Ahmed from the squad due to a lack of form, the first series of the new year is expected to throw the challenge of being regrouped to the Tigers.

 

And that challenge starts today as the hosts take on Zimbabwe in the first game of the tri-nation ODI series, starting at 12:00pm at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium in Mirpur, with the other team in the competition being Hathurunsingha's Sri Lanka.

 

On paper, Zimbabwe are the underdogs in this series and the hosts should be favourites for this match as they have strung a streak of 11 wins out of 12 at home against the Zimbabweans with one game washed out. Zimbabwe's last win in Bangladesh against the hosts had come way back in 2010.

 

However the visitors' first-ever ODI series win over the Lankans in July last year and the return of experienced wicket-keeper batsman Brendon Taylor and pacer Kyle Jarvis in the side will certainly boost their confidence.

 

 

Apart from these two cricketers, the likes of Sikandar Raza, skipper Graeme Cremer and opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza, who has been lethal against the Tigers on most occasions, will likely play crucial roles for the visitors.

 

Although Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and his troops will be playing at the comfort of their home where they have been all but unbeatable over the last two-and-a-half years, the chilly weather may give them a tough time.

 

Considering the overhead conditions and the pitch, which is expected to assist the spinners while offering runs for the batsmen, the home side would be hoping to bank on their strengths, but according to skipper Mashrafe a decision on whether to bat or bowl should they win the toss might be dictated by the elements.

 

With regular opener Imrul Kayes ruled out of the first game due to a thumb injury, wicket-keeper batsman Anamul Haque is all set to partner Tamim Iqbal in the opening stand after having scored heavily in domestic circuit recently.

 

According to the Tigers' technical director Khaled Mahmud, the team management wants ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan to bat at the number three position due to his aggressive style of play, with Mushfiqur Rahim likely to bat at number four and Mahmudullah at the number five position. Sabbir Rahman will play the role of a finisher alongside Nasir Hossain in the lower-middle order.

 

The team management may opt for three pacers in the eleven in order to strengthen the batting line-up, with left-arm seamer Mustafzur Rahman certain to make a comeback after missing out on the ODI series in South Africa due to an ankle injury while pacer Rubel Hossain is expected to retain his place in the eleven alongside Mashrafe.

 

But it will be a test of mental strength for the Tigers to stage a dominating start in the post-Hathurusingha era.

 

“There is always pressure when you are playing for your country. It is a good thing because the best performance comes out in a pressure situation. But I think many of our players have played under more intense pressure. We didn't get what we wanted from our last tour but I'm hopeful we will be able to execute better this time,” Mashrafe told reporters ahead of their training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium yesterday.

“The dressing room is mostly relaxed. We don't have the pressure we felt in the past. I don't want them to be too relaxed because sometimes nervous energy can bring out the best in a player inside the field,” added the skipper.

I will always be aggressive: Sabbir

 

Temperamental batsman Sabbir Rahman is having his first encounter with the media since losing his central contract earlier this month as punishment for assaulting a fan in a domestic first-class game. Photo: Star

 

Despite a six month ban from domestic cricket, losing his central contract, being handed a heavy fine of Tk 20 lakh and three demerit points, Sabbir Rahman will not hold back when he takes the field in the upcoming tri-nation ODI series, which begins tomorrow at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

Sabbir spoke to the media for the first time since being punished for assaulting a young fan, during a National Cricket League game, yesterday. Asked whether he will remain as aggressive on the field, the right-hand batsman replied: “Sabbir will always be aggressive.”

“It has had a huge impact on me on a personal level, but as a professional cricketer, I treat it like 'past is past'. I am trying to recover from it, and not let it affect me in the match. I want to support the national team as much as possible. Actually there is nothing negative in my mind at the moment and I am not thinking about the demerit points whether it's one or ten points,” Sabbir told reporters after a training session at the tournament venue.

 

WHEN MENTOR TURNS RIVAL: New Bangladesh one-day captain Shakib Al Hasan (L) is engaged in a serious discussion with the two selectors as Chandika Hathurusingha (R), who suddenly deserted the Tigers, takes a curious look on his arrival in Dhaka yesterday for what would be his first assignment as Sri Lanka coach. Photos: Firoz Ahmed

Sabbir, who has played 46 ODI's, and has been going through a lean patch of late, scoring 8,19,19,17 and 39 runs respectively in his last five innings. However, the stylish right-hander informed that he has been working on his weak points and is looking forward to delivering in the tri-series.

 

“I might have had some poor performances recently but I am well prepared. I have tried to strengthen my weak points. I will try to do well in the upcoming matches. I worked on playing spin, playing off the front foot. Runs depend a lot on luck; technique doesn't always make a big difference. I want to come back strong,” he said.

The cricketer from Rajshahi is often criticised for his lack of temperament while batting, however he also informed that batting in a different order requires a different temperament, therefore he might bat at number five or six.

“I think this is how I play. Batting at No 3 and down the order requires a different temperament. I am trying to adjust to the situation. I am thinking of how to finish games,” Sabbir added.

Sabbir, who is yet to smash a century, also informed: "I am actually disappointed about it as well. I am trying to smash a century and InshaAllah I will be able to do so in the coming days. At the same time I would also like to continue playing agressive cricket."

Young Tigers beat Namibia by 87 runs

Skipper Saif Hasan's robust 84 fashioned Bangladesh Youths' comfortable 87-run win against Namibia in their opening ICC Under-19 World Cup game at Lincoln today. Photo: ICC

 

Bangladesh Youth team pulled off an 87-run victory against their Namibian counterparts in their opening ICC Under-19 World Cup Group C game at Lincoln today.

In a rain-interrupted game, the young Tigers posted a comprehensive 190-4 in 20 overs with captain Saif Hasan hitting a blistering 84 off 48 balls that featured three fours and five sixes. Opener Pinak Ghosh scored 26 and Mohammad Naim hit a 43-ball 60.

With the fixture reduced to 20 overs a side, a fast start was imperative for Bangladesh, and they got it thanks to Pinak Ghosh, who dominated the early scoring, making 26 of Bangladesh’s initial 33, and striking four fours. His departure brought Saif to the crease, and he provided a captain’s innings before falling on the last ball of the innings.

Namibia, in the chase, scored 103-6. They were struggling at 12-4 before a battling 55 by E van Wyk salvage them from a conceding a defeat by big margin.   

 Bangladesh’s next game is against Canada at the same venue on January 15.

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