Shakib sent 'congratulations' to team, says Bangla offie Afif

Bangladesh all-rounder Afif Hossain, who looks up to Shakib Al Hasan as a role model, says the team environment is good after winning the Delhi T20I.

Bangladesh off-spinner Afif Hossain celebrates the dismissal of Shivam Dubey in the first T20I against India in New Delhi on Sunday.   -  AP

 

Young Bangladesh all-rounder Afif Hossain is happy that skipper Mahmudullah Riyad has allowed him to play his natural game which has helped him grow in confidence. Afif, who is a batting all-rounder, did his bit with the ball getting Shivam Dube’s wicket with a smart return catch in Bangladesh’s seven-wicket win over India.

“The environment is pretty good in the dressing room. Our captain’s (Mahmuddullah) message is simple — play in a way that suits you best. Aggressive instinct in the field (in first T20I) was a part of our plan,” he added.

The youngster doesn’t want to be dragged into the debate whether India is under pressure after losing the first T20I but admitted winning the series opener has bolstered the confidence of the visitor.

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Bangladesh arrived as underdogs without the experienced duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal but the Tigers came out roaring, defeating India by seven wickets in the opening game of three-match T20 series New Delhi on Sunday.

“I can’t say if India is in pressure. But we are confident enough after winning the first match. We are feeling good, which will help us to improve in the coming matches,” Afif said ahead of the second T20 here on Thursday.

“We are not thinking about winning or losing the series. Now we are just focusing on our job. We are just trying to give our best.”

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In the absence of Shakib, who has been banned for two years (one year suspended sentence) by the ICC for failing to report corrupt approaches, Afif said all Bangladeshi players are trying their best to make up for his loss. “Shakib bhai  has sent a congratulatory message to the whole team. I always used to follow him since I was a kid. Everyone is trying to perform their best in their roles. It is our team plan,” he said.

Emphasising his role in the team, 20-year-old Hossain said: “I am a batting all-rounder but I did not get the chance to bat in the last match. But I had the opportunity to bowl and I tried to perform to the best of my abilities.”

The 20-year-old has played six T20Is. “The journey is really pleasing. I am able to learn a lot of things from here. I was always excited as this is my first tour with the national team. It is my first series against a strong opponent," he said.