Tigers move on with eye on second ODI
Soon after arriving for their practice session in the morning, the Bangladesh team appeared to be in good spirits as they warmed-up with a football session. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was seen telling one of the other players to move, perhaps to initiate better link-up play and the kind of vibrancy that game was played with clearly showed they were enjoying themselves.
The Tigers had lined up Liton Das as captain for the remainder of the Afghanistan series following Tamim Iqbal's shock retirement on Thursday despite leading the team in the first ODI.
Rony Talukdar had been brought into the side as Tamim's replacement while back-up opener Mohammad Naim was in the nets with Nic Pothas, working things out. Both players were working to fill the gaping hole left by Tamim, and neither had an idea of what would transpire in the evening, when Tamim withdrew his international retirement after a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Coach Chandika Hathurusingha had taken both Liton and Shakib to the centre pitches to analyse the surface for the crucial game and make their assessments ahead of the second ODI.
The press conference, which was held amidst the backdrop of Tamim's retirement, was a curious one that saw Liton Das lose his patience with the journalists at one point because they had, without ill-intent, failed to focus on the do-or-die second ODI on Saturday and instead focused on what had the prior day, when Tamim abruptly retired.
"Is this press conference about what is going to happen tomorrow?" he asked. "Or else it's better for Liton Das not to be here. You can call the board president or the coach regarding these issues. I have come here to talk about the game tomorrow," he strongly stated.
However, Liton was in a reasonably merry mood for most of the press conference. "Being captain of Bangladesh is something to be proud of. When I captained before, I tried to do my best and win matches for Bangladesh. There is no alternative. I will try to do well," he said.
Taking over as captain following the chaos that had transpired following the loss to Afghanistan was indeed a hard step to follow but, when asked if he was feeling any pressure, Liton replied: "No. Chill."
The BCB president had suggested during a press conference in the early hours of Friday that the team would be impacted by Tamim's retirement just before key events such as Asia Cup and World Cup.
But Liton believed the scenario would have been similar if Tamim, instead of retiring, was out injured.
"No [there won't be negative impact]. He [Tamim] was there in the previous match but won't be there for the next match. Somehow if that wasn't the case and instead, he had an injury, we would have played an alternative. So I don't think any change like that will happen. Things will stay the same."
The batters had failed in their attempt to put up a resistance despite poor bowling from Afghanistan in the first ODI. The trio of Mujeeb ur Rahman, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi combined for five wickets, which left Bangladesh in disarray.
Liton felt they needed to give less wickets to the spinners. "We made silly mistakes, we will try to reduce them. We know their main strength is their spin attack in the middle overs. The less wickets you lose during that period, the better for us," he opined.
The Tigers wanted focus back on the game despite the chaos and Tamim eventually withdrawing his retirement. For now, they have found the mojo to move on.