Bangladesh-Ireland series

Focus on character and ‘game within game’

Bangladesh ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal, T20I and Test captain Shakib Al Hasan, head coach Chandika Hathurusingha and veteran batter Mushfiqur Rahim were probably discussing ways to carry their recent form from the shortest format to ODIs in practice at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday. The Tigers begin their full series against Ireland with the first of the three ODIs in Sylhet today. Photo: Firoz Ahmed

In overcast conditions mimicking the 'English weather', the Tigers went about their practice session at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium yesterday with individuals looking to build on the confidence from the England series as they geared up for the ODI series against Ireland, slated to begin today.

Towhid Hridoy, Rony Talukdar, Najmul Hossain or Mushfiqur Rahim were following up on their routine of getting the style and technique right.

Shakib Al Hasan gave Chandika Hathurusingha some food for thought regarding batting stances and was soon talking to Shanto at the nets about getting onto the back foot in one fluid movement while clearing the front foot. "The ball will go further," Shakib was seen telling Shanto.

If reinvention is the necessity going forward, adding skills will be the priority. But match scenarios remain important for real growth to take place. "Cricket is the only game where you can't practice the way you want to play," Hathurusingha said in the press conference ahead of the net session yesterday.


The management were looking to increase the pool of players ahead of the ODI World Cup in India. Following the 2-1 ODI series loss to England, the Ireland series presented an opportunity to do just that. For Hathurusingha, it was about finding the 'character' to rise to match scenarios.

Asked about his experience with the side over the past four weeks, Hathurusingha emphasised the quality of his experience through the two white-ball series against England. England are the best in business and the performances spoke to the Sri Lankan.

"Regardless of the win or loss, I look at different things like character, how they handle situations in the middle and who stands up under pressure. Performance can go up and down. [Jos] Buttler is the best batter in the world in white-ball cricket. We really put him under pressure. We were very happy with our attitude, body language and fielding. Even if we had lost both series but I saw those things, I would know that going forward, we were in the right direction," he said.

He said he was trying to introduce how the 'game within the game' impacted the team. While talking about Hasan Mahmud, he highlighted how the pacer removed Jos Buttler with an outstanding yorker and opened the doors for Mehedi Hasan Miraz to bowl to the lefties in the England line-up. Miraz bagged a career-best four-for in that game.

"He [Mahmud] opened the game for us in the second T20I by getting Buttler out. If you look at the game within the game, that allowed us to bring Miraz into the game. The wicket brought out all their left-handers. If Buttler was still there, it would have been a different kind of a game in the end," he said.

"Those games within the game are very important. I am looking for people to stand up and do things. They get confidence from doing these things regularly. The team has confidence in their roles and trust each other to do things. Fizz's two big overs changed the momentum in the third T20I," he added on players turning up with key performances.

Essentially, players will be measuring this series based on how they face up to situations. Mahmudullah Riyad was left out of the squad and although Chandika reminded Riyad 'is still in the mix', performances will now be judged according to match scenarios and new inclusions will get opportunities.