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It is a healthy sign for Bangladesh cricket when unexpected faces show up at post-match press conferences. It means that the range of performers are increasing and it is not the same old story of a Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal or Mushfiqur Rahim being the driving force behind the team's wins. Bangladesh won the first of five ODIs at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium against a strong West Indies outfit without Shakib, and more impressively with four debutants.
The victory was dedicated by captain Mushfiqur Rahim to the victims of the garments factory fire in Ashulia and Manzarul Islam Rana, the Test cricketer from Khulna who lost his life in a motorcycle accident on March 16, 2007.
It was off-spinner Shohag Gazi, one of those debutants who seems to have international cricket all sorted out, who came to the press briefing with his senior spin partner Abdur Razzak. The two – Gazi with 4-29 and Razzak 3-39 -- had been instrumental in dismissing the visitors for the below-par score of 199, after which a blazing start by Tamim gave the Tigers the momentum to sail home with 58 balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.
Gazi -- holder of Bangladesh's best debut bowling records in both Tests and ODIs -- talked very little, shyness born of not seeing the spotlight too often. “It feels good to perform on debut, and even better because we won the game,” was his short reply when asked to describe his feelings.
He had gotten Gayle out for the third time in this match, but insisted that he did not think about what the opposition might do. “I have always only planned my own performance. I have been successful in following that plan,” he said. When asked if Gayle's first Test onslaught was fresh in his mind when he came up to bowl his first over with the big Jamaican on strike, he replied: “No, I did not think like that; bowlers get hit for sixes and bowlers are the ones who take wickets. As for Gayle I try to make him play forward.”
ICC's rule change, allowing a maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard circle during non-Powerplay overs, was also met with a similarly stoic response. “I don't think about what rule the ICC has changed. If you bowl badly then even if there are six or seven fielders on the boundary you will leak runs. If you bowl in good areas then you will not be expensive even if there are only three fielders outside.”
The man accompanying him, Razzak, had a look of satisfaction as he basked in the glow of a job well done. “It was a performance consistent with the level we had set in the Asia Cup where we did well. I was a little worried whether we'd be able to keep the consistency, but we have started off well. It Razzak's worry) was mainly because of the long gap between one-dayers (their
last ODI was in March). I think it will be better in the next match.”
About the glut of debutants -- Gazi, Abul Hasan, Anamul Haque and Mominul Islam -- in the match Razzak thought that they were fortunate with the type of debutants they had, saying there is one type that feel pressure and the other who play like there is nothing to lose in their first match. “It is normally difficult to have so many debuts together. There may be mistakes. It is their first match, you can't blame them,” he said. “But the thing is some players don't feel pressure on debut. The ones who made the debut today were like that. They were strong, so we didn't feel it as a problem.”
On what the plans are for the rest of the series and what this victory means, Razzak said, “We have finished this game and its over for us, whatever the result is. We will play the next match as the first and last. We will try to take it a match at a time.”