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Dhaka Tribune

Mashrafe relies on team spirit

Update : 11 Feb 2014, 03:58 PM

Mashrafe bin Mortaza believes the Bangladeshi players have developed their skills through a good domestic season while the international tournaments also helped them grow in recent times. The captain for the two-match Twenty20 series against the world No 1 ranked T20 side Sri Lanka, Mashrafe said they can upset their opponents today if they play to their strengths.

“Obviously they (Sri Lanka) are number one in T20s and last few tournaments they have played well, at the same time we are passing a stage. A few days ago we didn’t play T20 that well but we had a few good home tournaments and at the same time we performed in the international arena. We are becoming a good team.

“Unfortunately because of the injuries some players can’t play but T20 is such a game, that the one who plays well on the field has more chances of winning. If we can put our best tomorrow (today) then we can, play a good match,” said Mashrafe, ahead of their first T20 match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, yesterday.

Bangladesh slowly climbed the ranks in the 50-0ver format and made a name for them, and Mashrafe thinks they are passing a similar stage in the T20s and more games will help them grow faster.

“When a team is weak in any area spot, they work harder on that aspect and that’s what we are doing. It’s a process. For instance, in one-day cricket there was a time when we couldn’t finish matches and now we play very well and can finish them. In T20 we are going through such a phase, the only way we can get out of this process is by playing more competitive matches. Before the World Cup, this series will be a good practice for us,” he said.

Bangladesh plays very few T20Is and they last played in Zimbabwe last year. However, despite missing few big names in the squad this time Mashrafe believes the new faces – Arafat Sunny, Mithun Ali, Sabbir Rahman –  deserved their place and are well capable of performing in the big stage.

“A few players got injured that’s why there have been replacements. At the same time, those players played well at home T20 tournament, so they have the experience and it will be a good practice before the World Cup. I believe that the team is really good,” said Mashrafe.

However, the stand-in Bangladesh captain was still uncertain of whether he will have Tamim Iqbal in the playing XI today as the left-handed opener is suffering from a neck strain.

“We haven’t spoken anything about this, but I believe that after practice today (yesterday) everything will be finalised. Tamim’s issue is still under the physio. The physio will see what’s up with him and then a final decision will be taken,” he informed.

The Chittagong venue has always been considered as a lucky ground for the home side and today’s match will be the first T20 played there. However, despite having full support from the crowd Mashrafe insisted that it will be the nerves during pressure situations that will decide the match.

He was also well aware of the Sri Lankan spearhead Lasith Malinga and said, “Obviously Malinga is one of the best bowlers of the world in T20 cricket. We have a plan against him. Particularly our batsmen have planned how to handle him. Hopefully we will be successful. If we think about him too much it will only be a negative impact,” said the Narail Express.

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