Bangladesh-West Indies lone T20 today
With today’s T20 International the series between Bangladesh and the visiting West Indies gets underway at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. It will no doubt be a huge challenge for the Tigers when they play the shortest version of the game after a gap of almost one and a half years, and after five years at home.
For Bangladesh it’s a series of many firsts. The main focus will obviously be on wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim who is going to make his captaincy debut, while for Stuart Law it will be his first real test as head coach, because the Australian was simply an observer during his first assignment as Bangladesh coach on the recent tour of Zimbabwe. Certainly, everybody is also curious to see how Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal respond in their first international appearances after their sacking from the posts of captain and vice-captain following the disastrous tour of Zimbabwe.
The new skipper’s hard work and commitment to the game has already been acclaimed by many, but judgement on how good the little Bogra lad is as a leader on the field starts from today. The 23-year old Mushfiqur, however, gave an idea of his proactive qualities off the field as he didn’t waste any time to motivate his mates through letters addressed to each individual. He also overcame the long-held perception of him being uncomfortable when speaking to the media on the day before the match; a small act that may show that he is ready to sacrifice anything as leader of the team.
These little things also showed his strength of character and of course his mindset, but the man himself was very much aware of the fact that it is performance in the middle that matters most.
“I have already passed messages to everyone. I got good feedback from them (teammates). You’ll see the results in the coming days. But the bottom line is you have to prove your worth on the field,” came the bold statement from the young skipper while he was talking at the press conference at Mirpur on the eve of the demanding home series which will also see the Tigers play three one-day internationals and two Tests against the visitors.
“Of course there’s a change. If you can handle every situation, you can be successful. From the time I became the captain, I knew I’d have to talk before the game. I was mentally prepared so hopefully there won’t be a problem,” elaborated Mushfiqur on his role as skipper.
The axe fell on Shakib and Tamim not because of their individual performances; rather discipline was the issue behind the decision, so it would be interesting to see how the new skipper regroups his team after that episode.
“We couldn’t get the results we expected during the last tour. I want the team to perform as a unit. The difference that I want to create is finding positive results,” said Mushfiqur about his vision.
If there is a point for Mushfiqur to prove as captain, then Law is also faced with a big challenge as many think that this series will provide a concrete impression of his strategies and plans for the Tigers. Compared to his first assignment the Australian got ample time to prepare the team for the series against the Caribbean cricketers. As a coach he has a plan, and now everyone will be scrutinising how his plans are translated into action in the middle by his charges.
Each and every coach has their own mantra and Law is no exception. “It’s about playing smart cricket,” were the words from the Australian when he talked at the official press conference.
“I’m trying to bring about some changes. Bangladesh have been at the same level for some time,” added Law.
Now everybody has to wait to see what new changes are brought through Law’s “smart cricket” mantra.
-With The Daily Star input