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Bangladesh captain wary of ‘hurt’ Pakistan

The 33-year-old is instead focused on his own team’s strength

PHOTO COURTESY: Dhaka Tribune

Despite Pakistan losing their last Twenty20 International (T20I) series at home 3-0 to Sri Lanka last year, the Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah is wary of the Men in Green ahead of the three-match series between the two countries, starting from January 24 in Lahore.

While talking to media in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, the 33-year-old all-rounder said that he is focused on his team’s strength and looking forward to a tough contest.

"Pakistan may have not played up to potential in the last few series but they are a strong side. I am sure they are concerned about their series loss to Sri Lanka,” Mahmudullah said. “But we are focused on our game.  Ranking wise they are way ahead as they are the No 1 team in the T20I format and we are in ninth position. But as a captain I am hopeful because of the way we have played in the last few series, we can achieve good results in the series against Pakistan.”

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Bangladesh were dealt a blow after senior batsman Mushfiqur Rahim opted out of the tour citing security concerns, who are already without suspended all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.

However, experienced opener Tamim Iqbal has made a return to the T20I squad, who has played several seasons of the Pakistan Super League, and was part of the World XI that visited Pakistan in 2017 for a three-match series.

Thus, Mahmudullah is counting on the experience of Tamim to provide good starts to the Tigers with his batting.

"Tamim and I both feel that we have a little more responsibility," he said. "Tamim's experience would matter a lot in the top order. He is in good rhythm, having made runs in the BPL. I will also try to fulfill my responsibilities too.”

Although five foreign members of the Bangladesh coaching staff has also withdrawn from the tour, but the head coach Russell Domingo is ready to travel to Pakistan and excited for the series.

"It was easy (to take decision of going to Pakistan). I sign up to coach Bangladesh and that's what I want to do," Domingo said. "I am looking forward going to Pakistan. I have never been there, so I am seeing a good challenge, good learning and a good adventure on how cricket works in that country."

Bangladesh completed their final practice session in Dhaka yesterday, prior to taking off to Pakistan on Wednesday.

Bangladesh Squad:

Mahmudullah (Captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Naim Sheikh, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Liton Das, MD Mithun, Afif Hossain, Mahedi Hasan, Aminul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Hasan Mahmud

Series schedule:

January 24 – 1st T20I, Lahore

January 25 – 2nd T20I, Lahore

January 27 – 3rd T20I, Lahore