Mushfiq promises aggressive cricket

Bangladesh will look to play their natural attacking game instead of playing defensively for a draw, Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim promised on Monday. The Tigers will seek their maiden Test win over Pakistan when they take on the visitors in the first of the two Tests at Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna from today. Mushfiqur, who returned to the helm after being supervised by Mashrafee bin Murtaza in ODIs, was beaming with confidence as he felt he has now more than enough players at his disposal to change the course of the game.
Tigers’ new-found composure is the by-product of their recent success against Pakistan when they swept them in the three-match ODI series before beating them in the lone Twenty20 International.
It has given them belief that despite being unable to win and draw a single match in their previous eight encounters they can play aggressively now.
‘If you play for a draw in your mind, you will be defensive and the opponent can understand that pretty quickly,’ said Mushfiq.
‘I think we should play our natural game; the batsmen should be allowed to bat freely while the bowlers should be attacking.
‘We are thinking of winning, and we have a number of match-winners.
‘Nobody plays Test cricket to draw or lose. We hadn’t won in 16 years against Pakistan,’ he said.
Mushfiq said that he is relishing the prospect of meeting a strengthened Pakistan squad with the return of experienced Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
The two senior players were not part of the limited-overs squad with Misbah, who turns 41 next month, having quit one-day cricket after the World Cup and Younis, 37, not selected.
‘You can call it as a challenge rather than pressure,’ said Mushfiq.
‘They have included some experienced players. So it is not pressure, but expectation. I think that works for our players because it brings the best out of them,’ he said.
Mushfiq also took a swipe at the critics for under valuing their effort in the previous part of the series by branding tourists as an inexperienced outfit.
‘A lot of people would say that their team wasn’t that good. Those of us who played in the middle exactly know how hard it was to score runs.
‘It is quite natural that when we score runs, everyone says it is an easy attack and when we don’t, they say we can’t score runs against a weak attack,’ he said.
Mushfiq said that they have gained the confidence not only because of their recent results but also due to the fact they had been successful in their last Test series against Zimbabwe through sticking to their guns for five days.
‘We won two Tests against Zimbabwe in the last session, which is never easy for any team,’ said Mushfiq.
‘We have a bowling attack to take 20 wickets and batsmen to score 600-plus runs. And if our fielders can take the opportunities, the result will be in our favour,’ he said.
The second Test match will start in Dhaka on May 6.

-With New Age input

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