Tamim Iqbal, the recently-appointed Bangladesh ODI captain, aims to place emphasis on instilling confidence in the younger lot of players, as he gears up to reverse the team's 'downward trend'.
Bangladesh have enjoyed some memorable years in the recent past and 2015 was an especially landmark season for them, as they defeated sides like Pakistan, South Africa and India in ODI series at home. While Bangladesh have remained competitive in the format since then, consistency has been an issue.
In the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, they finished third from bottom in the points table, with five losses and three wins from eight completed matches. Since then, they've lost three ODIs and won three, with the victories coming against a Zimbabwe-side ranked 12 on the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Rankings. Tamim, who took over leadership from Mashrafe Mortaza after the Zimbabwe series, acknowledged that the team's performance graph is experiencing a 'downward trend', but he aims to fix that.
"Especially in ODIs, 2015 was the turnaround year in Bangladesh cricket," Tamim said in an interview with ESPN Cricinfo. "Our graph has shown a bit of a downward trend, but I want to take it upwards. There will always be a bit of up and down, but we need to return to stability as a team.
"We must stay on the right track in ODIs; we aren't playing much [of the fomat] because there are so many T20Is these days. We need to know what we want to achieve as a team. We have a different team than in 2015. There are a lot of young players. I am sure that if we can tick all the boxes, there's no reason why we can't repeat 2015."
While the more experienced players, such as Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim himself, remain integral to Bangladesh's ODI setup, the captain wants the youngsters to step up. He believes they are just a 'big' victory away from elevating their self-confidence, which could set them up for further success.
New Bangladesh ODI skipper Tamim Iqbal seeks leadership inspiration from Mashrafe Mortaza. pic.twitter.com/DgKEkrxKhK— ICC (@ICC) March 15, 2020
"We have four or five young players, like [Mohammad] Naim, Afif [Hossain] and [Aminul Islam] Biplob. Even someone like Taijul [Islam] is young in ODI cricket, though he has been in the national set-up for six years.
"A big win will give this group a lot of courage. When you start winning games, you generate confidence. When we beat Pakistan 3-0 in 2015, we started believing in ourselves a lot more. We could defend a score of 250 or chase a 300-plus score. After beating Pakistan, we believed we could beat India and then South Africa. If we can build in a similar manner, by winning against big teams, the boys will find confidence."
He also wants other players under him to learn to build an insatiable appetite for success, citing other, more established players in the side as templates to follow.
"Someone like Liton Das now reacts and behaves differently after getting out on 70 or 80. He wants to do well even after making that record-breaking 170 recently. I see a lot of hunger in him. I hope everybody follows the same path.
"Mushfiqur Rahim is another great example. He is never satisfied in any format. He tries very hard when he is not doing well. But when he is doing well, he constantly wants to improve. If this is how everyone thinks, life becomes easier for the captain, coaches and senior players."
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