‘Rankings don’t necessarily show the real picture,’ captain says as he hopes the team would continue to keep the momentum going against New Zealand
Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah believes healthy competition within the side, which has led to players being more confident, gives a fairer assessment of the team rather than the one based on rankings.
Head coach Russell Domingo earlier said that the veteran Mushfiqur Rahim and Nurul Hasan – who impressed in the recent series against Zimbabwe and Australia – will share wicketkeeping duties in the first four matches during the home T20I series against New Zealand. Bangladesh also have four options for the opening slot in Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Liton Das and Mahedi Hasan.
“Liton is an outstanding opener while Soumya has been in good form this year,” Mahmudullah said. ” Naim has been one of the top-ranked batter in our side. Mahedi is also an opening option. They are all in good rhythm. We have to make sure those who get the opportunity can contribute for the team. The positive competition within the team is a good sign.”
There is some competition in their pace attack, too. Mustafizur Rahman and Shoriful Islam seem to be the preferred pair but Mohammad Saifuddin has grabbed the limited opportunities well in recent times, with Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain lurking around. Bangladesh also have Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Shahidul Islam in the extended squad.
“Shoriful bowled well in four matches (against Australia),” Mahmudullah said. “Mustafiz has been outstanding. Taskin has been bowling well but not getting enough opportunities. We have Rubel. Saifuddin made most of the opportunity. There’s good competition going on in every department.
“You can consider yourself favourites in T20s, but if it becomes overconfidence, it can be negative for you. Having said that, they [Bangladesh] are a very disciplined side in their homework and execution level.”
“I think the fielding has improved a lot. These are good signs to become a better team. Rankings and a team’s shape doesn’t necessarily show the real picture of a team. Playing well continuously usually takes the team forward.”
But Mahmudullah was careful not to call Bangladesh “favourites” even against the under-strength touring New Zealand team.
“You can consider yourself favourites in T20s, but if it becomes overconfidence, it can be negative for you. The team that reads the conditions well and has the hunger to do well on the day usually comes out on top in T20s.
“Having said that, they are a very disciplined side in their homework and execution level. We must remain focused and hungry, as we did against Australia. I would love to see the continuity.”
But he was also quick to point out that the expectation from the home side is justified, especially after their 4-1 T20I series win against Australia earlier this month.
“It is a very good opportunity for our team. We are eager to prove that we are good at home. I am hopeful that the boys will be up for it.
“There will always be expectations especially when it has built up in our home conditions. We are very competitive and confidence at home. We use our condition well. Every opportunity for the team and individual must be valued. Rest will take care of itself.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84