Ace Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan credited “a free dressing room” behind their convincing wins against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in the tri-nation ODI series. The Tigers had a flying start to the competition, defeating Zimbabwe by eight wickets Monday, and Friday marked a record 163-run win against Sri Lanka at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
Bangladesh taking on Sri Lanka had a different hype. The occasion was the first the Tigers were taking on the Lankans since former Bangladesh head coach Chandika Hathurusingha took charge of the island nation. Hathurusingha had made a controversial exit from the Bangladesh job and many said it was due to issues which he had built up in the dressing room.
But for Shakib, the win, where he registered an all-round performance taking three wickets and scoring 67 runs, was yet another day in the office. For the Bangladesh ODI vice-captain, it was important to win the game only to make their survival in the series easy.
“A win is a win for me. It is important to beat Sri Lanka, especially in the context of this tri-series. We have to qualify for the final. We won both matches quite convincingly. It will give us a lot of confidence ahead of the next two games,” said Shakib to the media following the game.
“Those who do our planning, they have had a change in their mindset. 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 our own decisions. This is a big advantage for everyone to be involved. [Khaled Mahmud] Sujon bhai and Richard [Halsall] knows what we need; they have been providing and we have been utilising it,” he added.
Shakib, who reached 10,000 international runs across all three formats, was promoted to No 3 in the batting line up ahead of the series. And the left-handed batsman is proving the decision to be an extremely effective one, scoring 37 in the first game of the series, against Zimbabwe, and 67 against Sri Lanka Friday.
“It is too early to say if it has balanced the team but I think our batting will be more solid. There’s always a healthy competition within the team; who is scoring more runs. It is a positive thing,” Shakib explained.