Bangladesh were dealt a massive blow when the ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out for the ODI series against New Zealand, but captain Mashrafe Mortaza is quietly confident about the challenging his side faces.
Mortaza believes the team’s performances in the Asia Cup in UAE, where they lost in the final against India, will hold his side in good stead against the Kiwis in the three-match ODI series beginning February 13.
“We don’t need to mention the importance of Shakib because every time we went on to play without him we had a difficult experience," said Mortaza.
“We all know it will be a big challenge in New Zealand but now the challenge is doubled after losing him. We have to play with our available resources because we played with the same kind of challenge in Asia Cup.
“We have to play with a positive frame of mind in order to overcome the challenge. It is true that the balance is disrupted with his absence because by losing him we incur losses in two places. We need to be mentally prepared to take up the responsibility of filling his gap," Mortaza noted.
Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes insisted that his side has a good chance of achieving success in New Zealand after a good run in 2018 in the ODI format.
Mortaza echoed those sentiments but did concede that Shakib’s absence would make the task tougher for them.
“It is certainly possible to win the ODI series, it is not true that we cannot win it. But now (considering Shakib’s absence) it has turned out to be difficult but possible. To make that happen we need to have the belief and mental strength as well as we need to execute our plans properly, and if that is the case it is possible."
Mortaza expects to see more batsman-friendly surfaces during the upcoming ODI series and believes it will be good for the in-form Bangladeshi batsmen.
“I think the wicket where we played the BPL semifinal and final will be quite similar to the ones we are going to have in New Zealand because we are expecting flat tracks in that part of the world," Mortaza said.
“Considering that it is relieving that our batsmen got some runs because it will give them confidence. On the same note, it will be extremely challenging for the bowlers so we need to perform in all three departments to earn success over the hosts."