One Should Not Write Off Sri Lanka – Shakib Al Hasan
There is absolutely no denying the fact that there were apprehensions over Bangladesh after Chandika Hathurusingha resigned as their head coach, thus bringing an end to a spell that saw the Tigers scaling greater heights in international cricket.
Under Hathurusingha, Bangladesh had won ODI series against India, South Africa, defeated Australia and England in Tests in addition to making it to the semifinal of last year’s Champions Trophy.
The fact that Bangladesh Cricket Board was desperate to keep Hathurusingha pretty much proves how important Sri Lanka was. However, the 49-year old had ended his association with the side much before his contract was due to expire. His untimely departure had also raised a lot of speculation about the team management.
However, Bangladesh has all but dispelled those speculations and apprehensions with two clinical performances in the ongoing ODI tri-series featuring Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Under, Khaled Mahmud and Richard Halsall, who took over in the post-Hathurusingha era, Bangladesh has started on a good note, dismantling Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.
In the first match, they thrashed Zimbabwe by eight wickets while chasing 171. They came up with another brilliant performance on Friday (January 19), thrashing Sri Lanka by a record margin of 163 runs. Senior all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was the architect of the huge win, scoring 67 before taking three wickets to help the hosts bowl out the Islanders for just 157 while defending 321.
Speaking after the game, Shakib said the new team-management has come up with fresh ideas before adding the players are playing with more freedom under the current coaching staff.
“Those who do our planning, they have had a change in their mindset,” Shakib said on Friday. “We have had a change of coach, so the new person in charge has his own thinking. I won’t say we played without freedom in the past, but now we are also playing freely. At the same time, we are also taking own decisions.
“This is a big advantage for everyone to be involved. Sujon bhai [Khaled Mahmud] and Richard [Halsall] know what we need; they have been providing, and we have been utilizing it,” Shakib added.
Shakib further said the hosts were in desperate need of a win, following their horrid run in South Africa where they got whitewashed across formats.
“We won most of our matches in 2005 and 2006 against Zimbabwe. We got our winning habit from that time,” he said. “So since we didn’t do well in South Africa, it was important for us to do well in this tournament. To be honest, every team is strong at home. I certainly want us to build on it, while at the same time improve abroad.”
At the same time, the veteran star cautioned his team against any complacency against Sri Lanka, adding that the opponents can bounce back.
“Sri Lanka have an important match coming up against Zimbabwe. If Zimbabwe wins, we will play against them in the final. So, Zimbabwe have the advantage. But one shouldn’t write off Sri Lanka. They have quality players. They can make a comeback,” he noted.
The southpaw, who got promoted to number three in the batting order, went on to say his new batting position provides more stability to the lineup. However, he was disappointed to have missed out on an opportunity to score big.
“If I could bat the whole innings, I would have scored a hundred. One always feels frustrated after getting out, regardless of the runs one scores,” he said.
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