Sports, Cricket

Shoriful wants to finish in same way

Published : 08 Oct 2023 08:56 PM | Updated : 08 Oct 2023 08:56 PM

Bangladesh have never won more than three matches in an ODI World Cup but a convincing win against Afghanistan in the opener means that they can dare dream. And if they are looking for advice on how to go all the way, they have four players in the squad who have the experience of lifting an ICC World Cup trophy, albeit in the Under-19 format.

Shoriful Islam Towhid Hridoy, Tanzid Hasan Tamim and Tanzim Hasan Shakib were integral parts of Bangladesh’s first major global title, when they won the Under-19 World Cup in 2020.  

From this World Cup-winning side, Shoriful was the first to graduate to the senior team when he made his test debut in Sri Lanka in 2021. 

The likes of Shamim Hossain, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Parvez Hossain, Hridoy, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, Tanzid and Tanzim, all followed Shoriful’s footsteps soon after. Quickly graduating from Under-19s to the senior team isn't new in world cricket. For Bangladesh, it is recognised as a natural transition as the BCB's youth system has produced almost all top-level cricketers in the last 25 years.

But the 2020 batch is slightly different because of their triumph. The immediate success of some of these young players has further vindicated their ability. Mahmudul started off superbly in New Zealand and South Africa last year. Hridoy became the first Bangladeshi batter to score more than 500 ODI runs in his debut year. Shoriful himself began brightly, and although he doesn't have a huge haul of wickets, he has steadily improved into a position where he has been at times preferred over the vastly experienced Mustafizur Rahman. And he showed his penchant for the big stage picking 2 for 34 in 6.2 overs in his debut ODI World Cup game as Bangladesh started their 2023 campaign with a six-wicket win.

While Shoriful did not want to compare the ODI World Cup to the Under-19 one, he said that the atmosphere in both campaigns was similar. 

"It was the Under-19 World Cup. This is the main World Cup. The difference is the world-class batters in this tournament. Under-19 has a few of them but here almost everyone is of the highest standard. They pounce on your smallest errors," Shoriful said after Bangladesh's opening game against Afghanistan.

"Four of us are here, so we are really enjoying the World Cup. Everyone is friendly. We are mixing well among us. It is a similar start to the Under-19 World Cup, and Insha Allah , we want to finish in the same way. We want to take it match-by-match, just like we did it three years ago.”

Shoriful's two wickets in Bangladesh's win came in his last spell as he made up for an ordinary opening burst. Bangladesh struggled to contain Afghanistan's top three as they raced to 83 for 1 in the 16th over before Shakib Al Hasan provided the important breakthrough. Still, the Bangladesh pacers finished with four wickets between them. 

Shoriful said that the bowling unit had belief in themselves to bounce back. "We believed that someone from among the five bowlers can get us the breakthrough. Someone will step up with one or two wickets to turn the game around. We didn't panic when someone had a bad over or spell. Someone or the other will step up.

"We tried to bowl in the right areas at the start but unfortunately it didn't happen. The captain pointed out that we were probably missing something so we should be more tight in the next spells."

Bangladesh's World Cup has just started but a dominating win will provide them a boost especially ahead of the England game at the same venue on October 10. A few more wins in the early stages would spark the Bangladesh side, but apart from the technical and tactical sides, managing a winning environment is a lesson that this senior side can learn from the Under-19 world champions. They know who to ask.