Monday, 29 May, 2023

Tigers were never afraid of losing Test against Ireland: Shakib

  • Sports Correspondent
  • 8 April, 2023 12:00 AM
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Tigers were never afraid of losing Test against Ireland: Shakib
Bangladesh players and officials celebrate with the trophy of ‘Test Series 2023 Bangladesh VS Ireland’ at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Friday. – BCB PHOTO

Bangladesh Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan said on Friday that they were never afraid of losing against Ireland despite the visitors giving them some kind of scare in the match.

Ireland failed to push their score into a big target for Bangladesh as they could only add six runs to their overnight score of 286-8 before they were bowled out for 292 runs in their second innings.

Bangladesh were set for a mere target of 138 runs and they reached the target while losing only three wickets within the first hour after the lunch break on the fourth day.

The Tigers were in the driving seat at the end of the second day but Ireland fought back bravely and scored 259 runs on the third day by losing only four wickets which gave Bangladesh some scare in the contest.

“With the new ball, there was turn and bounce but after 10 to 12 overs, there was nothing much for the bowlers so we were never afraid of losing the game,” Shakib told reporters after their seven-wicket win over the visitors at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

“In Test cricket, you always have time to make a comeback. It is lesser in ODIs and in T20Is, it is even smaller and taking that into consideration, no one thought of losing this game.

“The pitch wasn’t the typical pitch we are used to and we hardly play in these kinds of pitches. The first three days were really well and Mirpur doesn’t produce good wickets or a wicket which remains good in the first three days,” he said, adding that if they want to play an aggressive brand of Test cricket, they need to have five proper bowlers in their side.

The move to include three pace bowlers in the playing XI against Ireland raised quite a few eyebrows considering it wasn’t something Bangladesh often do while playing longer-format cricket as such a move was taken previously back in 2014 when they took on Sri Lanka on their home soil.

“When you want 20 wickets, you need more bowlers as options, there’s no alternative,” said Shakib.

“You choose fewer bowling options when you try to play defensive cricket and have the desire to draw the Test. When you want to win, you will play with five or six bowling options and big teams do the same thing as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shakib said that he doesn’t have any explanation for why he didn’t bowl much but insisted that with enough bowling options, one can always have the luxury to see their potential.

“No, I’ve no explanation (why I didn’t bowl much). Someone doesn’t need to bowl. When you have near about five to six weapons, then you don’t need to use them all the time,” he said, adding that he was never concerned with the form of Mushfiqur Rahim, who scored a brilliant hundred against Ireland, despite there were several talks that he had gone past his prime.

Meanwhile, Shakib also said that he feels Bangladesh are now mentally stronger than before while he added that he is expecting to end the year on a high note.

“Mental improvement I think is the biggest improvement. If you see, when we played the last T20 World Cup match, we discussed that actually, we might have considered ourselves a very small team before this World Cup. Actually, we were not a small group. If we had kept the faith, maybe we would have played in the semifinals,” he said.

“I said a long time ago that 2023 is going to be a great year for us as we have the World Cup this year and the Asia Cup as well. We will try to play like this in the next six months as well,” he concluded.