Tigers to carry key tenets from T20I success
Bangladesh's woes in the T20I format are well-known but under Shakib Al Hasan, the team have revitalised their performances in the recent few series, culminating in their latest series win against Afghanistan.
The team's tactical flexibility has been one of the key tenets of the Shakib era and the focus shifts back to ODI cricket with the Asia Cup around the corner before the marquee event, the World Cup.
Death-bowling has improved alongside effort with the new ball. The likes of Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Ebadot Hossain, and Mustafizur Rahman have shared and swapped roles, giving the idea that adaptability to various scenario-specific roles have been established as an important factor.
With the bat, Tawhid Hridoy and others have answered the team's demands. Shamim Hossain appears to be more confident in his abilities while skipper Shakib has been able to set a tone for the rest. Moreover, with focus on fitness, the sharpness on the field has also reached new heights.
The Asia Cup is the next hurdle and the Tigers would begin camp on July 29th to prepare for the event. Shakib believed the confidence from the T20Is can be taken to the ODI format since the movement from one format to the other had been the norm in the recent past. Players such as Hridoy had been able to make their case in domestic tournaments such as the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) before making the jump to the ODI side following their appearance in the England T20I series.
"Most of the players who have played are in ODIs or vice versa and it is possible to carry that confidence since we will be facing this opponent in Asia Cup and World Cup's first game. It will be a big confidence boost for them," Shakib said after his team's series win on Sunday.
Shakib had also outlined the importance of flexibility, citing, "if everyone can bat everywhere, they won't find it difficult to adapt when facing a tough situation. The same goes for the bowlers."
Transition of ideas from one format to another is a difficult proposition. Given the ODI unit's success in the recent past, they had the tag of a settled unit. However, two series defeats against England and Afghanistan have also posed questions regarding the modus operandi for the Asia Cup and World Cup.
The settled team concept may just see variations and Asia Cup could be the litmus test. Since the captaincy question still remains at large, it would be Chandika Hathurusingha's challenge to keep the ODI outfit evolving.
Mushfiqur Rahim's placement at number six has already paid dividends. The theme of flexibility gained new grounds, one that could also seep into the ODI side, when Afif Hossain came in to open the innings against Afghanistan in the second T20I.
"Some players in the national team have established positions. It's difficult to come in to the side in such positions. The players should get mentally ready to show their ability wherever opportunities come," chief selector Minhajul Abedin told the media yesterday regarding Afif's batting position.
He added that fitness would also be a major factor and "the conditioning camp will help with fitness related issues.
"The Asia Cup is very important and we're hoping we will have everyone fit and can select the best team," Minhajul remarked.
Checking out players in different positions while prioritising key tenets of recent success would highlight the positivity of Bangladesh's plans going forward.