West Indies ODI win was in spinning conditions, 'should not go to our heads', says Tamim
The 3-0 ODI series sweep in the Caribbean was "special", but Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladesh 50-overs captain, has been speaking to his team-mates about not getting too excited with the result. After all, as he says, "there was too much help for the spinners", which won't often be the case while on the road.
"Any away series win is always special. Our series win in South Africa was massive [too]. But I told my team that although winning in West Indies was a fantastic achievement, this series win should not go to our heads," Tamim told Cricday. "It was held in conditions where there was too much help for the spinners. When we go overseas or even at home, you won't have this kind of help. We have to face more difficult challenges going forward.
The ODI series win gave Bangladesh a fine sign-off on the tour, where they had lost both the Tests and T20Is 2-0. Tamim has now led Bangladesh to five consecutive ODI series wins - six in the World Cup Super League. The last of those have in South Africa and the West Indies, quite an achievement for a side that is notoriously mediocre away from the subcontinent. In fact, all their overseas ODI series wins over the years have only been in the West Indies, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Tamim, the Player of the Series for his tally of 117 runs, said that while the wins have been heartening, he was waiting for his main plan to stop working, and for Plan B to be brought out and executed.
"I am figuring out my style, and what I want to do," he said. "I have always said that it is a learning process for me. When I go to Ireland and Zimbabwe, I might have to face different challenges, right? If the way I plan things don't work, how I execute Plan B [will determine if] I am growing as a captain.
"It was challenging [after the Test and T20I defeats] but I didn't have to work much on [the transition]. Everyone wanted to win. We thought we'd be more competitive in Tests and T20Is, though the result didn't go our way. Everyone tried hard in those two formats but unfortunately it didn't happen. So it worked within everyone that we have to win the ODI series, at least. The hunger was there in everyone, regardless of whether they played or not."
That Bangladesh won the ODIs despite missing stalwarts Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim [both absent because of personal reasons], as well as Mohammad Saifuddin and Yasir Ali [injured], was a positive sign. But Bangladesh's spinners put together a great performance, picking up 19 wickets at 15.26 - their best average in a bilateral or triangular ODI series.
What also stood out in Tamim's view was Nurul Hasan's batting in the middle order. Nurul, the wicketkeeper-batter, finished off two of the chases with scores of 20 not out and 32 not out.
"Those two [Shakib and Mushfiqur] are key players for us in any format. They have done so well for the country, achieved so much. The team will get a bit of confidence playing without them. The other guys had the opportunity in their absence," Tamim said. "Sohan [Nurul] took it with both hands. He played unbelievably well.
"Apart from the bowlers, I have to say Sohan was the leading performer. He has put up a very strong case going forward."
Tamim himself made good starts but didn't convert them into big ones, but it was in tough batting conditions, where 178 was the best first-innings total, by West Indies in the last game, and it took 48.3 overs for Bangladesh to finish the chase. Tamim had scores of 33, 50 not out and 34 in the series.
"This was the sort of wicket where you had to cut out maximum shots, and focus on one or two shots only," Tamim explained. "You cannot play shots to the merit of the ball. It was spinning a lot. It was keeping low. You just hope the ball will be there for you to score runs. Luckily we didn't have to chase big scores. It was okay."