New Delhi, October 30: Ravaged by controversies, the most impactful being star player and regular Test and T20 captain Shakib Al Hasan being suspended by the ICC for failing to report corrupt approaches, stand-in skipper Mahmudullah Riyad said on Wednesday that they will not focus on what has happened and move ahead. He added that Shakib's absence will act more as motivation.
A 15-member squad arrived in the national capital a day after Shakib was suspended from all cricket for two years, with one year of that suspended, after he accepted three charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code on Tuesday. Shakib Al Hasan Will Lead Bangladesh to ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, Says Mashrafe Mortaza.
Bangladesh will be playing three T20 Internationals in New Delhi (November 3), Rajkot (November 7) and Nagpur (November 10) and two Tests in Indore (November 14-18) and Kolkata (November 22-26).
"We have to play with our heart for the country," Mahmudullah was quoted as saying by the ESPNCricinfo. "I think this (Shakib's absence) will work as motivation for us. I think there's no greater honour than playing for the country. The responsibility to lead the side lies with me, so I will try to give it my all," said the T20 skipper and a veteran of many battles.
India will start as overwhelming favourites and Mahmudullah admitted that it will be a tough ask. "The statistics don't lie. It is a tough ask, but it is not impossible. We have to perform as a team, and ensure we take advantage of every opportunity."
Bangladesh will be without opener Tamim Iqbal also who opted out of the tour in the aftermath of the players' strike. Senior player Mushfiqur Rahim said the team will without doubt miss Shakib but at the same time it is an opening for a youngster to stake a claim. "Definitely, I will miss him (Shakib), since we have played together for so long," Mushfiqur said. Mashrafe Mortaza Extends Support for Shakib Al Hasan, Says ‘He Will Lead Us to 2023 World Cup’.
"It is tough to play without him as he is the No. 1 player. If someone was injured for a year, which could have been anyone, then it would have been an opening for the younger players. It is a challenge to beat India in their home turf but a challenge also means an opportunity," he added.
Bangladesh T20I squad: Mahmudullah (c), Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Naim, Mushfiqur Rahim, Atif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Aminul Islam, Arafat Sunny, Al-Amin Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Mohammad Mithun, Taijul Islam, Abu Hider Rony.