Shakib Al Hasan opines on Bangladesh’s approach ahead of Afghanistan series

Shakib Al Hasan

Bangladesh and Afghanistan will square off in the first of two T20I matches at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday, July 14. Despite Afghanistan winning the ODI series 2-1, both sides will enter the format in excellent shape. Notably, Bangladesh defeated 2022 T20 World Cup champions England 3-0 and Ireland 2-1 in their last two T20I series at home. In their last match, Afghanistan outplayed Pakistan, the T20 World Cup runners-up, to clinch the series 2-1 in UAE.

Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan believes his team would continue to perform thoroughly in the T20I series, given their recent success in the format. The all-rounder also said that they are not relying on a single player as they want to succeed as a team.

“We played well in the last two home series but this is a new challenge for us. Afghanistan is definitely a good team. We want to perform in the way we have recently played cricket. We are not thinking about any particular individual. We are also not relying on a particular batter or bowler. We want to win through a team performance, but we will try to keep our intention intact,” Shakib was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

He continued by saying that he thinks every player on his team is aware of how to go better if they have any shortcomings. Shakib added that every player will respond to the circumstance in order to produce for the team as momentum is crucial in this format. He did, however, admit that how well they start with both bat and ball will determine the outcome.

“I am sure those who know that they need to improve in particular areas will do so. It is not something that needs to be told. A player will react according to the situation to perform for the team. Momentum is very important for T20s. I have a feeling that the result will depend a lot on how we start, whether with the bat or ball.

“We do well as a team when we don’t worry about the opposition. We do well when we are open-minded and always thinking about giving that 10-20 percent improvement. We don’t do well when we worry too much about the conditions and opponents. We have to be prepared for anything in this [wet] weather. There might be a shorter game. It might be a five, ten, 15 or 18-over game. We have to be open about it. We have to decide the team just before the toss knowing how many overs we will play.”

We need to get better in batting as well: Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s T20I skipper, is expecting his batters to step up in the forthcoming series. The 24-year-old claimed that although his team has many talented players, ultimately it comes down to performance. He believes Afghanistan’s major challenge is the lack of quality batters to play in the middle overs.

“We need to get better in batting as well. We have had enough time in international cricket. We have the skills and talent. It is just about performing as well. If we can get a couple of batters like them (Bangladesh), especially in the middle overs, where we struggle in the longer format… If we fulfill that department, we can be winning more games,” said Rashid.