Bangladesh are struggling to come terms with Shakib Al Hasan’s absence. The 32-year-old allrounder has been handed a two-year ban from the ICC, one year suspended, for failing to report corrupt practices on three occasions.
Mahmudullah, leading Bangladesh’s T20I side ahead of the series-opening first T20I against India at New Delhi on Sunday, believes Shakib’s absence will also be an opportunity for the youngsters in the team to step up and perform in the series against India.
“We all know Shakib has been a great performer for Bangladesh. We know he did a mistake, but not a crime. We all are right now focussing on tomorrow’s game as it would be a perfect opportunity for our youngsters to step up and showcase their skills,” Mahmudullah said on the eve of the match.
“It is difficult to replace him (Shakib). Players like Shakib are not made in a day.”
Quizzed on what cue can he take from playing with Shakib and Bangladesh’s ODI skipper Mashrafee Mortaza, Mahmudullah said: “We have been playing together for a while. Shakib has been a great leader and Mashrafe has been another good motivator. I will try to step up and be a good leader. It is a great opportunity for me to lead my side. We have to play as a team and execute our skills.”
The match at the Arun Jaitley Stadium was under doubt due to the the current pollution-related concerns in the national capital, Mahmudullah said his side are focussing on the match as such things are not in anyone’s control.
“We had a chat about this (the conditions) with our management and players. It is something which is not probably in our control. We are focussing on our game and want to win it,” he said.