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Shakib’s leadership key in Bangladesh T20 revival

Bangladesh have of late found the mantra to thrive in T20 format when everyone wrote them off given the fact that they lacked the aggression and skill to win the match on regular basis in the shortest format of cricket.

Also Bangladesh lacked the power-hitter who could make the difference all by himself. In every team in the world, there is at least one power-hitter who gave the side flexibility. But, Bangladesh have none and so, it was easy to write them off.

Since Shakib Al Hasan was appointed captain last year, he made it clear, his long term plan was to make this team a T20 force and for that, he would play the cricket that suits their cricketing culture. Physically Bangladeshis are not strongly built, so very naturally, Bangladesh won’t find any proper power-hitter like Andre Russell or Chris Gayle, BSS reports.

Shakib and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha ensured Bangladesh would stress on skill hitting and aggression to put an adverse impact on the opponents. Bangladesh didn’t find the required success as soon as Shakib took the captaincy as they lost all of the matches in Asia Cup and tri-series in New Zealand ahead of the 2022 T20 World Cup.

But in every match, it was evident that the players came up with bold approach. They tried to rule the opponent from the first ball, albeit unfortunately found them in wrong side.

The process in which they stuck fetched them the success in T20 World Cup even though they couldn’t beat any strong team. But found them in a position of winning a game against India, apart from beating Netherlands and Zimbabwe.

Although many people still termed Bangladesh’s performance in World Cup as disastrous one, Shakib said they were successful in mission. He indeed wanted to make it understand that their process was right.

And he was right. After the World Cup, Bangladesh faced off England for the first time in a T20 series. They came to the T20 series with a 2-1 defeat in ODI format but sprung a surprise, sweeping the T20 series against a team that some months ago won the T20 World Cup.

Bangladesh, earlier, beat Australia and New Zealand in T20 format at home but those victories were undermined due to the slow nature of pitch. Against England they played in sporting pitch, in fact those were a proper T20 pitch. Despite being bolstered with enormous power-hitter and aggressive bowlers, England found it tough to match with Bangladesh’s smart cricket.

Bangladesh didn’t care about the result, they just played their natural cricket with bold approach. And it was the reason of their success. They thereafter won a T20 series against low ranked Ireland although lost a match in that series. But the process and approach was same.

Ahead of Afghanistan T20 series, the most challenging factor for Bangladesh was how to deal with the much-vaunted spin attack, led by Rashid Khan. Shakib
made it clear, their approach will be the same, whoever the bowler. Shakib is the captain who basically didn’t mind even if Bangladesh lost three or four wickets in the powerplay. But, he always wants that the approach and aggression remain the same.

In reply to Afghanistan’s 154-7, Bangladesh were reduced to 39-3 with top- order failing to accelerate the innings. From what it was seen, Shakib in the dressing looked angered by the approach of the top order. This top order in fact was key in their success after the World Cup due to their bold approach.

Shakib then took the onus and accelerated the innings. He was dismissed for only 19 but he showed the way to Towhid Hridoy and Shamim Patwari to how to bat. Hardly Bangladesh could win a match in this format after a shaky start. But, Hridoy and Shamim made sure they would play the positive brand of cricket regardless of the result.

Hridoy and Shamim were not experienced enough or natural power-hitter. But, they overcame it by their bold approach which Shakib and Hathurusingha actually want.

“We had a plan that they are one of the best spin attack and scoring runs against them is difficult. Still we tried to take calculative risk and tried to execute it well. I think in international cricket every match is challenging and every opponent have their own strength and we just tried to execute our plans,” Hridoy said.

“We just wanted to be positive and kept one thing in mind that we will play according to the situation.”