Dhoni mentors sublime Sabbir
When India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni appreciates a player on his team, it means a lot to that player. But when the most successful India skipper takes notice of a player from the rivals' team and privately appreciates him, it means more than just an appreciation.
Dhoni called Bangladesh all-rounder Sabbir Rahman to say that he loved the batting attitude of the right-hander.
"He [Dhoni] called me during training at Mirpur ahead of the third and final ODI and said he likes my attitude and approach to batting and advised me to try finish matches as much as possible," said an excited Sabbir.
"Getting such appreciation from a great cricketer like him is something special for me and it will definitely boost my confidence," continued the 23-year-old all-rounder.
It may not be a surprise as Dhoni, who led India to scores of glories, singled out the young man from Rajshahi when he is highly respected for his fearless approach and ability as a finisher.
Sabbir might not have yet done anything special or magical like what pacer Mustafizur Rahman has done against India on his arrival to ODI cricket, but without a doubt the arrival and inclusion of players like Sabbir and Soumya Sarkar bolstered the new brand of the team.
For any ardent cricket lover it's a priceless joy to watch the way the right-hander jigged down to loft a flighted delivery from off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for a massive six over long-on during his 41-run knock in the first ODI or the way he swept from in front of the stumps against Ravindra Jadeja to beat the man deep on the leg side or even his reverse sweep against Suresh Raina.
With 'cat's eyes' Sabbir is stylish in every way; from walking to batting in the middle. But most importantly the aggression and the power he has in his batting makes many believe that he has every chance to line-up alongside the world's most devastating batsmen.
These qualities and the attention of India and Chennai Super Kings captain Dhoni compelled many to think that he may be the next call-up from Bangladesh to the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) but the player himself wants to focus only on his national duties.
"Who would not want to play in such a big tournament like the IPL? But right now my only focus is to deliver for my team. After the World Cup quarterfinal we had been eagerly waiting for the Indian series and we showed the world our attacking brand of cricket. We are now looking forward to the South Africa series," said Sabbir.
"I love to play positive and fearless cricket and our coach [Chandika Hathurusingha] also appreciates my batting style and encourages me to finish games as much as possible," he went on.
Sabbir doesn't like to set any targets, rather he wants to go to the middle and serve the team's purpose.