Shanto calls on Bangladesh to play ‘as a unit’ in ODI series against Sri Lanka

Shanto calls on Bangladesh to play ‘as a unit’ in ODI series against Sri Lanka

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto says his team has to get back to playing “as a unit” to avoid a third straight ODI series loss at home when it takes on Sri Lanka on Wednesday in the first of three matches.

The hosts lost the three-match T20 series 2-1 and also had a dismal home record last year when it lost back-to-back ODI series to Afghanistan and New Zealand. The last time Bangladesh lost three home ODI series on the trot was in 2011.

“You have to face enormous challenges when you will be up against an International team,” Shanto said. “We had played extraordinary cricket, especially in the ODI format from 2015 to 2022, so a bad year matters little. But it is important to bounce back. And we are ready to take the challenge.”

While Bangladesh couldn’t live up to expectations in the World Cup, it did well in an ODI series in New Zealand at the end of the year and won an ODI match there for the first time despite losing the series 2-1.

“What is most important is to play as a unit. When we play as a unit, our chance to win the match is always increased significantly,” Shanto said. “We were able play as a team in New Zealand, which was our last series. We wanted to win all matches in New Zealand but unfortunately (we couldn’t). During the World Cup, we couldn’t play as a unit but we are matured enough to support each other during the bad times.”

Shanto said Bangladesh will miss allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who was ruled out of the series due to an eye problem.

“Shakib’s presence always makes our task easier because he can give you the flexibility that can make your combination right,” Shanto said.

Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood wants to carry the momentum from the T20 series victory into the ODI series.

“Obviously, we’re going to take the series very seriously, as I’m sure both teams will. We’re in a new cycle now, so we’re again building towards a style or brand of cricket that we want to play in the next World Cup,” Silverwood said. “We’re trying to continue the momentum that we’ve had from the series at home as well in Sri Lanka, where we played some fantastic cricket. And I’ll be encouraging the guys to go out and do the same thing.”

The rivalry between the two reached new heights after Shakib Al Hasan chose to inflict a “timed out” dismissal of Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews during the World Cup last year. Sri Lanka brought out a “timed out” celebration after winning the T20 series, after which Shanto said that his opponents should move on from the incident.

But Silverwood believes the rivalry is healthy for cricket.

“The rivalry is obviously great. I think we need good competition,” he said. “And as I said about the T20, it was two good sides and we’re going to play some competitive cricket. I expect exactly the same again in this tournament, in this series.” (AP)

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