Bangladesh top-order batsman Imrul Kayes believes the Tigers are more balanced and competitive now as some crucial players like Shakib al Hasan and Mashrafe bin Mortaza have been added to squad.
Imrul vowed a better performance from Bangladesh in the three-match ODI series against South Africa .
The Tigers are currently preparing themselves for the practice match at Mangaung Oval before the ODIs.
Bangladesh played 13 ODIs in 2017. Among them, the Tigers have won three matches - against Sri Lanka away, Ireland away in the tri-nation series and against New Zealand in the 2017 Champions Trophy. Two matches were washed out and they lost the remaining eight.
While the focus has shifted to ODIs after poor performances in the two-Test series, Imrul believes Bangladesh will perform better in the shorter formats.
“Test series is over and we are not thinking about the Test series at the moment. The discussions have ended in the dressing room. Management and coaches told us after that day to forget about Tests and focus on the ODIs and T20I series now. We were not able to perform in Tests but we can do better in the shorter formats,” said Imrul after the Tigers took part in a gym session Tuesday.
“Obviously it’s a boost for the team that Mashrafe bhai and Shakib will return in the ODIs. And Tamim [Iqbal] will play in the ODIs. Missing such important players can affect the overall performance of the team. We have realised that in the Test series. Definitely the balance of the team has improved following the addition of these key players in the squad. I believe ODI series will be a much more competitive as we have performed well in ODIs in recent years,” he added.
Imrul said the Tigers knew the wicket would be challenging in South Africa and as expected, the Bangladesh batsmen had to deal with that little bit of extra bounce. Imrul said these two Tests is a learning curve for the batsmen and will help them for the future.
“It was part of the homework to face bounce in South Africa, because we also played in New Zealand. But the conditions in New Zealand and here are different. New Zealand has pace, but not that much bounce, but here there is both bounce and pace. These guys (South African pacers) planned in a way that they will keep bowling at the same area. I saw it for the first time, I have played against quite a few teams who continuously bowl on a specific area to get you out, around this side [points to his chest and midriff], I have seen that a lot of teams cannot do it consistently,” he explained.
“But they did it in this Test, whether you are talking about [Kagiso] Rabada or [Duanne] Olivier. In other Tests that I have played in, suppose in Bangladesh or in England where maybe they can’t do it, which is why these problems weren’t created for our batsmen. These are things which we have learnt very well in order to overcome it next time,” he added.
Can Bangladesh win matches in South Africa in the shorter formats? Well, the left-handed batsman believes it’s obviously possible as Bangladesh have played good cricket in ODIs in recent years.
“Of course, you know that in Bangladesh we are a strong team. Now we are trying to prove that we can win matches away. We started that in the Champions Trophy, and I hope it will be a good series and if we can play better cricket, then it is possible to get a result in our favour,” he concluded.
Bangladesh will practice in the morning session Wednesday, ahead of their warm-up game against Cricket South Africa Invitation XI at Mangaung Oval Thursday.
The first ODI will be played at De Beers Diamond Oval in Kimberley on Sunday.