Shakib Al Hasan believes that playing on ‘better batting wickets’ during the upcoming home T20I series against New Zealand will benefit Bangladesh ahead of the T20 World Cup in the UAE. He also identified the UAE leg of the IPL 2021 as a major preparation opportunity for the marquee event.
Bangladesh’s 4-1 win in the five-match T20I series against Australia earlier this month had prompted a lot of discussions over the slow and bowling-friendly pitches, as much as it did for the hosts’ historic triumph. The overall series run-rate of 5.53 is the lowest for any bilateral series (minimum three matches) involving full-member sides.
Only two batsmen, Mahmudullah and Mitchell Marsh, registered a 50-plus score across five matches, while 131/7 was the highest team-total. In the fifth T20I, Australia were bundled out for 62, their lowest-ever score in T20I cricket.
Shakib Al Hasan, who was named the Player of the Series for his all-round show, hopes for pitches better suited for batting in their upcoming assignment against New Zealand, while maintaining that adaptability is the key irrespective of the conditions.
"Wherever T20s are played, it is usually played on a good wicket. Maybe it would benefit us more (preparation-wise for T20 World Cup) if we could play on a better wicket against New Zealand," Shakib was quoted as saying by the Daily Samakal. "It is up to the team management to decide on what type of wicket they want to play before going there. Whatever it is, we have to adapt. Since the game is in our country, there is no chance to make excuses."
The 34-year-old is confident about his batting form, and aims to produce big scores against the Blackcaps.
"Naturally I will try to go into the T20 World Cup in good shape and that has always been the case but I don't think there are too many problems in batting," said Shakib, whose aggregate of 114 runs was the second-highest in the series against Australia. "I feel playing one or two big innings will bring me back into my groove.
“There was no scope to score big against Australia due to the nature of the wicket and so it would not be wise to count those five matches. There were opportunities in Zimbabwe that I could not take. If there is a 'better wicket' in the New Zealand series then I will try to play big innings."
He also identified the remaining leg of the IPL 2021 as a good preparation opportunity, irrespective of the number of games he plays in.
"Yes, there will be that possibility (of preparing at the IPL) but now I have to see how many matches I can play and that is the challenge,” said Shakib, who has been a key presence at the Kolkata Knight Riders over the years.
"If I play a match, there will be one kind of preparation and if you don't play the match, there will be another kind of preparation. If you play regularly, it will be a kind of preparation and if I don't play, then I have to take that preparation through training."
Each of the five Bangladesh-New Zealand T20Is will be played at Dhaka’s Shere Bangla National Stadium, beginning September 1.