Imrul Kayes had just 48 hours after completing a four-day game in Khulna for the High Performance squad to pack his bags and board a flight to join the Tigers in the United Arab Emirates for a do or die encounter against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, where he was expected to handle one of the best spin bowlers in the world in Rashid Khan.
However in those short 48 hours the left-hander, who has been in and out of the national team since his ODI debut ten years ago, did not forget to do his homework on Rashid.
"Actually I have not played Rashid that much in the nets of Comilla Victorians during the Bangladesh Premier League as we don't have that much training in franchise leagues. But there were a few tricks which I followed over his bowling grip. I saw the video analysis and followed that and maybe for that reason I was able to read him. I have seen his recent videos as well as the old ones on which grip he bowls the googlies and his grip for the leg spin. When you follow that early, it's easy to face him," Imrul told the media yesterday.
The 31-year-old grabbed the opportunity to test his knowledge of the infamous bowler with both hands when he was asked to bat at number six, for the first time in career, in that crucial match against Afghanistan. Imrul went on to smash his 15th ODI fifty and remained unbeaten on 72 off 89 balls, including six fours, in that encounter.
More importantly, Imrul and Mahmudullah Riyad added a record 128-run sixth wicket stand after the Tigers were reeling on 87 for 5 at one stage.
"Me and Riyad bhai (Mahmudullah) were thinking of putting up a partnership at that time. He helped me a lot while batting and I will give him the credit. At one point I felt that I am giving so many dot balls and asked him whether I am playing so many dot balls or not. He told me to continue playing in my way and added that we will try till the end," he said.
Imrul also praised Mushfiqur Rahim for providing mental support even when he was dropped from the squad and after reaching the UAE.
"Everyone supported me but to be honest Mushfiqur supported me a lot. He told me so many good things even before coming to the UAE and after reaching here. He encouraged me after performing which is a big achievement for me as a teammate," said Imrul.