Tigers in need of 'collective approach'
Following a lot of drama both on and off the field since Tamim Iqbal's retirement saga, Bangladesh's seven-wicket victory in the final ODI against Afghanistan came as a relief to the Tigers' camp, especially considering how the Tigers conceded the three-match series with successive losses in the first two matches in Chattogram.
However, the Tigers will now be hoping to move forward, with a change in mindset and in leadership -- Shakib Al Hasan leading the T20I side -- as the Bangladesh team reached Sylhet for the two-match T20I series against the Afghans yesterday.
The chemistry between Shakib and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha is now the highlighting factor, especially after the hosts managed to beat Afghanistan in the third ODI as the two were seen discussing their plans for the T20I series.
In fact, both Shakib and Hathurusingha went straight to the ground to inspect the pitch right after the team reached Sylhet on Wednesday ahead of the first T20I scheduled for tomorrow.
It is expected to be an even tougher challenge for Bangladesh when they take on Afghanistan in the T20I format given the Tigers managed to win just three games in their nine meetings with the Afghans so far.
For Bangladesh, the main test will be to take on the challenge of negotiating world-class T20 players Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and also pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi. It will also be a huge challenge for Shakib to regroup the team after the sudden shock that they went through following Tamim's retirement incident.
The Tigers, however, can take heart from the last home series against England earlier this year in which the Tigers, despite losing the preceding three-match ODI series 2-1, the hosts went on to whitewash the world champions in the three-match T20I series.
According to prominent coach Nazmul Abedeen Fahim, it will be crucial for Bangladesh players to forget about the external pressure and bank on their strength to overcome the ODI series defeat and focus on the T20I series.
"Sometimes, we forget who we are as external pressure influences us, rendering us unable to express ourselves. The other thing is we tend to look at the opposition's strength rather than focus on what we possess. I think we have a better batting line up and they [Afghanistan] have a good spin unit. But again, our pace bowling department is doing well and are ahead of them. But the thing is if we doubt our strength and feel that they are better, that is when the problem arises," Fahim told The Daily Star yesterday.
Bangladesh have garnered a reputation of being a solid ODI unit over the years but the same can not be said of the Tigers' approach in the shortest format of the game. And according to the mentor of Shakib, the Tigers can play better if they come up with a collective approach.
"Look, we do have some suitable players in the team who can put pressure on the opponent throughout the 20 overs. We are a good fielding unit and I think our strength will be to play collective cricket as a unit," Fahim added.