'We can score 600 and take 20 scalps'
By the looks of it Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Nazmul Hasan Papon is the most advertised person in Khulna. If you move along the Jessore Road (Khan A Sabur Road) or the KDA Road, the two most prominent roads in Khulna, you will find life-size pictures of the BCB boss from arches and billboards to the posters.
He is a lawmaker but not from Khulna. However, had there been an election in this part of Bangladesh, he probably could have scored a landslide victory.
But he is actually aware of the fact that his popularity hinges on how the Tigers perform on the field. It has been so far so good against Pakistan. And ahead of the first Test both his coach Chandika Hathurusingha and captain Mushfiqur Rahim said that they want to start with a victory at the back of their mind.
They might not sound as pragmatic as Shakib Al Hasan the other day, but they were certainly ambitious in a format that needs discipline in the mental makeup of the players and a good set of bowlers to take 20 wickets against a side that have recently beaten Australia and New Zealand.
"Pakistan are really strong with experienced players in their Test squad. They beat Australia recently, they are ranked four. It is good for us to play a strong opposition at this stage because we are also doing well," Hathurusingha told reporters yesterday.
"It is a different format but still, when you do well you get confident. You trust your preparation. That's the confidence that we are taking to the game. It doesn't mean we are overconfident. It is all about first session tomorrow (Tuesday).
"Our expectation is to win every series. We don't take the opposition for granted or be overconfident. We try to do our best and if we do that, I think we have the ability to beat any team," said the confident Sri Lankan.
Hatuhrusingha, who apparently preferred Shuvagata Hom ahead of left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, said, "I am very happy with the selection. These players were involved in the last Test series. Imrul Kayes scored a hundred in the last Test while Shuvagata played a role in the series win. They deserved to be in the squad."
TIGERS IN RECORDS
"The three new guys are in the squad on merit. Few of them will get a chance immediately even though the team is doing well. One thing I want to cultivate is to give a player a decent run. In that way the players have a lot of stability. They have to bide their time since the team is doing well. They are all talented, from what I have seen," he added.
The coach also said that the wicket seemed the same from November last year, when Bangladesh played Zimbabwe.
Captain Mushfiqur hit back at the notion that their ODI opponents in the series were soft. "We know how difficult it was in the middle," blurted Mushfiqur.
The captain also said that he has got a unit that is not only playing good cricket but also has the ability to "score 600 runs and take 20 wickets."
"We have been playing good cricket for quite some time. We beat Zimbabwe in the last session of a Test, which is something very inspiring for us. I hope we will be able to play good cricket in the next five days,"said Mushfiqur, adding that if his side starts with a mindset of a draw then it will limit the area of thinking for both bowlers and batsmen.