Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

'We can't stress on the pitch'

Umid Kumar Dey
Published Date: 14 Feb 2018 | Update :

Prior to the first T20I game against Sri Lanka at the Mirpur Shere-Bangla Stadium, Mahmudullah Riyad—the stand-in captain for the series—gave a briefing to the press about the game that commences tomorrow.

After losing the final Test against Sri Lanka, the pitch was one of the most talked of aspects of the game. Bangladesh’s decision to play on turning track against a Sri Lanka side with experienced spinners backfired them.

Riyad, however, stated that thinking too much about the wicket will only pile up the pressure on the team. He has instead called for the team to focus on themselves.

‘If we stress about the wicket, then I think that it will put pressure on our performance. I don’t believe that thinking about the pitch will do us any favours.’

‘If we can keep aside these things and focus on working on our plans and try to understand the pitch quickly, it will be good for us.’

Riyad then emphasized on the importance of playing as little dot balls as possible, stating that the successful teams don’t generally play a lot of dots.

‘The number of dot balls in T20s are very important. If, however, we can convert the dot balls to single and rotate the strike, it will be good. If you look at the successful T20 sides, then you will see that they play lesser dot balls. The ones that play less dot balls usually have a better win percentage.'

Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim are the uncertainties for the game tomorrow. Riyad, however, hoped that they would be available and affirmed that the playing XI hasn’t been decided yet.

‘[Tamim Iqbal] got a bit of a blow on the muscles of his hand, which is why we haven’t decided on our starting XI yet. We will wait till the very end for Tamim [Iqbal] and Mushfiqur [Rahim]. I hope that we can have them in tomorrow’s starting XI.

‘We have to decide on our starting XI while thinking about the opposition’s playing XI. That is why we haven’t made a decision yet.

‘There are 15 men in the squad and every one of them has a chance to play [in the first T20I game]. So the playing XI will be known on the day of the match.’

On being named the captain once again, he said: ‘I haven’t thought much about it. I have a responsibility now and I will try to fulfil it properly.’

After losing the tri-nation and Test series, Bangladesh would like to get one back against the Lankans. Mahmudullah, too, insisted that he has expectations and also showed faith in the youngsters called up to the squad, before revealing his mantra on being successful in T20 cricket.

‘There are expectations obviously. The youngsters are deserving. They played well in the BPL, so I hope that they continue their good form here.

‘In T20 cricket, playing fearlessly is necessary. If we worry about failure, then the chances of winning goes down. So I try to give the same message to everyone in the team: play positively without thinking about failures.

‘In T20 cricket, you have to enjoy the atmosphere. You have to enjoy everything.

‘This series is a chance to give a statement to the rest of the world. This is a very important series for us. We want to make a statement.’

Further speaking about the opportunities for the youngsters, he said: ‘The ones who can do well here have a chance. The T20I World Cup is also up ahead. So I think this is a positive process for us. Going forward, we will have to find out the right balance in T20Is.’  


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