‘Tamim and I must step up’

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Following a promising performance in the three-match T20I series in India, the Bangladesh Cricket Board kept faith in Mahmudullah Riyad to lead the Tigers in the upcoming three-match T20I series against Pakistan.

Normally a calm and composed character, Mahmudullah seemed positive about his captaincy in the shortest format as the 33-year-old walked in confidently for the pre-tour press conference ahead of Bangladesh’s chartered flight to Pakistan today.

As expected, security concerns once again dominated talks ahead of cricket itself and Mahmudullah tried to play according to the basics and focused mostly on the game.

“Initially it was tough [deciding to tour Pakistan] as there were concerns from my family. But I spoke to them and they were finally agreed so from that point I am assured that my family won’t feel stressed because Pakistan will give us top security. But I also support Mushfiqur Rahim’s decision as there are always issues with family. There can’t be anything more important than family for a cricketer or a normal person,” Mahmudullah told reporters yesterday.

In the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, the BCB is now considering Mahmudullah the captain at least for T20Is. Although the board has been naming captains on a series-by-series basis, Mahmudullah believes it will help him to plan accordingly if he is given captaincy on a long-term basis.

Even head coach Russell Domingo said that he preferred Mahmudullah as T20 captain so it will be important for Bangladesh if they are to prepare for the upcoming ICC World T20 later this year.

Apart from Shakib, Bangladesh will also miss the vast experience of Mushfiqur in Pakistan and Mahmudullah said that he and Tamim Iqbal would have to play crucial roles on the tour.

“I personally feel that Tamim and I will have added responsibility on this tour. Tamim’s experience in the top order will be vital. He was in good touch during the BPL. I personally would want to fulfil my responsibilities and I will try to bat till the end. There might be changes in the batting order for some players but I hope everyone will be able to cope,” he said.

The all-rounder was also hopeful about the younger cricketers, saying that he was confident with his team and hoping that newcomers would will apply themselves in Pakistan.

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