Youngsters willing to take on the mantle
The Bangladesh national cricket team's youngsters are eager to take responsibility in the series-deciding T20I against Zimbabwe in Harare despite the visitors struggling to balance the squad in the absence of key players.
ODI captain and opener Tamim Iqbal's struggles with his knee injury forced him to decide on a break after playing a major role in the ODI series against Zimbabwe, while pacer Mustafizur Rahman's ankle niggle ruled him out of the second T20I. Batsman Liton Das is battling a groin injury.
Earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim had to return to Dhaka following the one-off Test after his parents tested positive for Covid-19 while tragedy struck on Friday as youngster Aminul Islam Biplob father passed away and forced him to book a flight home.
Although Bangladesh have enjoyed some dominant performances on the Zimbabwe tour, those absences have been stumbling block in terms of balancing the squad.
However, for those young players who were not afforded as many chances in the past, this may be an opportune moment to take responsibility and rise to the occasion.
One such hopeful, 20-year-old pacer Shoriful Islam, was prepared to step into the Mustafizur's shoes: "It's added pressure for the team when he isn't playing, but I'm trying my best to take out the pressure."
Having picked up five wickets in the first two T20Is, Shoriful was appreciative of Mustafizur for his advice on and off the pitch.
"If I bowl a bad delivery, he points it out and pushes me to do better on the next one. And if I make a mistake in practice in bowling or anything else, Mustafizur teaches me almost like a coach," a beaming Shoriful added.
The youngster was also excited by the addition of Shamim Hossain, who happens to be one of Shoriful's teammates from the U-19 World Cup-winning campaign.
"I've been playing with him for two years now. He is a very good fielder, a power-hitter and a good batsman. We would both like to serve the national team for a long time so that we can give something to Bangladesh cricket," he said.
In Bangladesh's loss to Zimbabwe in the 2nd T20I, Shamim Hossain showed that he could hit the ball hard by scoring a 13-ball 29 on debut. He hit three 4s and a couple of sixes, catching everyone's attention.
Shoriful Islam and Shamim Hossain could be great additions who have experience in a World Cup-winning team.
Shoriful said he was living the dream: "When I was younger, in class three or four, I saw Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad play. Now, playing alongside them feels like a dream. I'm grateful that I have a great relationship with them and we're together like a family."