DHAKA – Despite being on the verge of a series victory against a West Indies team seemingly made for one-day cricket, and in front of passionate home support, the Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has insisted his team are not feeling the pressure ahead of the third ODI in Mirpur tomorrow morning but retained respect for the match-winning potential in the visitors’ team.
“All the pressure is on them, not us,” Mushfiqur said. “The manner of defeats would make them think because we didn’t win by one wicket or 10 runs, we won by handsome margins that proves we are playing better cricket than them. If we can continue in this vein, we can get a favourable result.
“Having said that, West Indies are a capable side and they can come back and surprise us. They are a dangerous side. Things are clicking in our favour, whether that is forming a batting partnership or taking a wicket at the right time. But I am confident that even if they play well, our consistency will pull us through.”
If Bangladesh can convert this opportunity into a series victory it will not only help the team’s confidence but will also provide a vital lift to their standing on the world stage. They have slowly come into grips with the nuances of ODI cricket, a format they are more consistent at than Tests or Twenty20.
“We have been playing good, consistent cricket in ODIs for the past year and a half, especially at home,” Mushfiqur said. “It is definitely a huge opportunity in front of us to win the series. Everyone is aware of this so I hope we continue doing what we have done in the last two games and perform in all three areas.”
Mushfiqur also hit back at West Indies coach Ottis Gibson’s suggestions that Bangladesh have “had it easy” after Gibson said that it was his batsmen who have given away the wickets.
“We have forced them to gift the wickets,” Mushfiqur said. “Our bowling partnership was very good so they didn’t have any options apart from giving us the wickets. As simple as that.”
Bangladesh’s two victories have come without key allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who has been ruled out of the series, and while Mushfiqur conceded it was a big hole to fill it has open up opportunities for some younger players which, he said, bodes well for the future.
“It would have been a lot better performance with Shakib. We are fortunate that a cricketer like him is in our team. I hope he comes back to cricket quickly. Due to his absence, the younger players have a chance to play in this series.
“It is a big opportunity for them, if they can play against such strong opponents and do well they will have a lot of confidence. We have guys now who perform so we have more than just Tamim and Shakib to rely upon. It is a good sign, and is a new addition to our strength.”
Mushfiqur, who confirmed Rubel Hossain will replace the injured Abul Hasan, expressed concerns over the amount of dew that everyone has seen on the Mirpur outfield as they trained under the lights.
“Rubel has recovered sufficiently after bowling a lot in the Tests, and he will replace Abul Hasan,” he said. “The wicket will be slow but probably the ball will skid in the evening. I am surprised to see so much dew in the evening. We lost to India even after scoring 290 because of the dew. It is a concern, so we will try to balance the team keeping this in mind.” (cricinfo)