Mohammad Saifuddin has revealed that batting with Bangladesh senior all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was his childhood dream after the duo posted an unbeaten 69-run stand in the second ODI victory against Zimbabwe. Saifuddin also admitted that he rarely gets to bat and wanted to prove his batting skills.
Shakib Al Hasan has been with the Bangladesh cricket team, quite around 15 years, and happens to be their iconic player whose charisma has highly been impactful on the young players of the country to select cricket as a career option.
One such aspirant is Bangladesh's bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin, who was 10-year-old when Shakib made his international debut in 2006. On Sunday, the Chittagong born player was involved in an unbeaten 69-run partnership with the former Bangladesh skipper in their team's three-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second ODI in Harare. Shakib missed his 10th ODI hundred by 4 runs while Saifuddin was unbeaten on 28 in their alliance that steered their team to clinch the series 2-0 with one game to be played on July 20 (Tuesday). 24-year-old Saifuddin revealed that it was his childhood dream to bat alongside Shakib and win for Bangladesh.
"There was a lot of pressure, but I felt I was prepared. I tried to stick to the process. We needed around 70 runs at that stage. It was a childhood dream to bat with Shakib bhai and win a game for the country. I was happy to get such an opportunity and tried my best to make it as memorable as possible," Saifuddin said as reported by ESPNcricinfo.
Saifuddin came into bat when Bangladesh were struggling at 173/7 at the end of the 39 overs with the required run rate reading 6.18 per over. In his innings, Saifuddin played 34 balls and smacked only one four against Tendai Chatara's bowling in the penultimate over, the rest of the innings, he and Shakib, both dealt in singles and doubles to ensure a smooth finish.
"I didn't play any big shots. I defended loose balls for the sake of the team. Shakib bhai supported me a lot. His presence gave me confidence. We knew that picking up the singles would lessen the gap, and we can ultimately win the game." Saifuddin said.
Saifuddin plays as a lower-order specialist in Bangladesh's batting line-up and has scored 362 runs from his 19 ODI innings where on nine occasions he remained not out. The all-rounder said that he seldom gets to bat and was waiting for an opportunity to prove his mettle as a batsman.
"I don't always get the chance [to bat], but I wanted to prove my worth as a batsman. Obviously, I don't want anyone to get out, but I tried really hard yesterday. I think I could prove myself. I am happy that I could contribute to the team's cause." Saifuddin revealed.
Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are playing their final ODI on Tuesday before moving to the three-match T20I series that will wrap the multi-format tour.