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September 19, 2020
Sport

Mahmudullah wants Sakib in T20 WC

A possible rescheduling of this year’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup could greatly benefit the Tigers, believed Bangladesh’s Twenty20 skipper Mahmudullah, as it would give Bangladesh the opportunity to go into the marquee tournament with Sakib al Hasan.

Bangladesh are currently scheduled to start their Twenty20 World Cup campaign from October 19, and face off Netherlands, Namibia and Scotland in the first-round of the competition to book a spot in the Super 12.

Presently serving a yearlong ban imposed by the International Cricket Council, Sakib will be free to play from October 29 this year, which virtually ruined his chances of playing in the competition.

But due to cricketing lockdown caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the chances of the tournament getting held per schedule are getting slimmer every day.

The ICC, however, is still hopeful of hosting the tournament in the predetermined slot, but Mahmudullah was curiously optimistic about rescheduling.

‘If the schedule changes, it could be a better scenario for us. We all know how important Sakib’s role is in our team. He is hugely experienced in this format,’ Mahmudullah told New Age on Thursday.

‘Sakib can change the face of the team. Having someone like him gives the team a great balance. He has great impact and true match winner,’ he added.

Mahmudullah had fond memories of his last visit to Australia in 2015, where he scored his maiden one-day international century and also became the first Bangladeshi centurion in the World Cup.

This year Mahmudullah is set to lead the Tigers in Australia in the Twenty20 World Cup and is currently chalking up ideas about how to shape up the team for tournament while eagerly waiting for the crisis to end.

‘In Australia grounds are bigger, it’s true. But there will be true wickets, good bounce, ball will travel faster. So that will not be a problem. We should try to focus on hitting boundaries also.

‘If you focus more on hitting sixes, you might not even get four! So, beside sixes, we should look for scoring boundaries as well,’ Mahmudullah.

Mahmudullah admitted that the Bangladeshi cricketers lack the brute muscle power of their Caribbean counterparts, so to succeed they have to rely more on skilled hitting and mental strength.

‘We don’t have any big hitters like Chris Gayle or Andre Russell in our side. To keep up the tempo, we have to rely more on skilled hitting. If we could apply skilled hitting and display mental strength, we can also score big in T20 matches,’ he said.

Mahmudullah, who led the Tigers in their first ever Twenty20 win against India in Delhi, felt that momentum is the key in the fast paced format.

‘In Twenty20, game changes very fast. In a short span of few overs or few deliveries, the entire game changes. Holding on to the momentum is very important. At the same time, you have to aim high,’ he said.

Bangladesh often struggles to put up a big total on the board to put the opposition under pressure and crumbles under the weight of a big target.

Mahmudullah said to score big in Twenty20, the team needs to first set a higher target and believe in their abilities.

‘We have to aim big to score big. We should not be afraid of failing. We need to keep faith. Not only in words, but also deep in the core; every member of the team must believe that we can do it,’ he said.

As soon the pandemic situation ends, Mahmudullah wants to gear up in his cricket attire and wanted a good training camp to get back in shape before the Twenty20 World Cup.

‘I feel that after the lockdown, we all need a good training camp to get ourselves back in proper shape. Most of us are working hard at home, but we need skill training and practice sessions to find the right rhythm.’

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