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Sunny way of doing things

31A late entrant into the national squad, 28-year-old Arafat Sunny has a unique hobby. He loves to keep pigeons as pets. In fact, there was a time when he looked after nearly a hundred pigeons at his terrace and even trained a few of them for inter-city travel.
It’s a pastime that definitely needs patience and in a way that’s one virtue that has helped him the most to make the national side after being in the domestic circuit for more than a decade.
And when he was drafted, last year, he was called in as a replacement for the injured Abdur Razzak in the Sri Lanka series. Many considered the change to be a temporary one.
However, 14 months on and Sunny has gradually earned himself a crucial role in this team. The journey wasn’t by any means an easy task.
After all, he was asked to replace Bangladesh’s highest ODI wicket-taker and that meant earning his teammates respect. In addition, he would have to do that by bowling in the powerplays a la Razzak.
Sunny’s performance has stood out in the on-going series thus far. The brilliantly disguised arm-ball he delivered to bowl Mohammad Hafeez has so far been the highlight of his series.
“I really don’t know how I bowled that delivery… that just happened,” a wide-eyed Sunny told reporters at the team hotel yesterday.
Like his statement, Sunny’s mantra remains simple. “I have been playing domestic cricket for more than a decade now and there’s plenty of experience and all that. But honestly speaking I play every game as though it’s my first.
“A year ago I didn’t even think of making the national team… let alone make the World Cup squad and the series after. I am still not sure if I will make the next series,” said the slow left-armer.
“I don’t think too much about who I have replaced in the team. If I tell myself that I have to play well to stay in the team then that adds pressure. To me it’s all a game-by-game thing,” he added.
He entered the team at a time when the Tigers were going through a losing spree. From the disappointing Sri Lanka series to the embarrassment in the Asia Cup last year, he had seen it all. And as a result, Sunny can clearly decipher the difference in mood of the camp at the moment.
“The win against England changed everything really. The confidence that we all got from there, was amazing. In both the ODIs we just wanted to stick to our plan and do well as a team, it didn’t matter whether we won or lost, we just wanted to play good cricket and that’s what made the difference,” explained Sunny.