Soumya Sarkar has admitted that it was difficult for him to get going at the start of his innings against Zimbabwe since he was returning to international cricket after a span of nearly four months. He also mentioned that he only believes in competing with himself than anyone else.
In the first T20I against Zimbabwe, the Bangladesh openers Mohammad Naim and Soumya Sarkar batted wonderfully and were involved in a 102-run stand, which set up their team's chase after the hosts set them a target of 153 in Harare on Thursday. However, it wasn't an easy start for Sarkar as he could manage only four runs from the first 11 balls he faced. Only later did the southpaw decided to open his hands after he charged down the wicket to send Luke Jongwe's length ball over deep mid-wicket for a six in the fifth over.
After the great opening start, Bangladesh went on to win the game by eight wickets with seven balls to spare and have take a lead of 1-0 in the three-match series. Sarkar, who last played a T20 International against New Zealand in April, was adjudged as Player of the Match for his 45-ball 50, which included four boundaries and a couple of sixes. He had also rolled over his arms and taken the wicket of Tarisai Musakanda. The southpaw admitted that he was struggling to score at the start of his innings.
"I was playing my first international match after four months so I felt a bit shaky at the start. When some of my first shots were going to hand, I told myself to take a bit of time. A four or a six would open things up for me, I thought. When I got a preferred ball and struck the six, I got my confidence back," Sarkar said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
Sarkar faced mixed emotions on reaching his fifty as it was the same delivery on which he ended up getting run-out, in a bid to steal two. It didn't impact Bangladesh's chase though, as they crossed the finishing line in the penultimate over. Sarkar further expressed that had he batted longer, the game would have been over a couple of overs earlier.
"I felt that we could have finished the game two overs earlier if I wasn't run out in that manner. It was disappointing to get out. I thought that I was playing their left-arm spinner well, so I would have charged him further if I was around," Sarkar stated.
He also added that he had to mentally prepare when he was promoted to open the batting.
"I was supposed to bat at No 3, but the coach told me at the innings break that I would be opening in Liton's place. I had to prepare myself mentally, and speak to the new partner and bat according to the conditions," he added.
Earlier, the 28 years old was dropped from the Sri Lanka ODIs and had also missed the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe. But due to Tamim Iqbal's injury and his superior performances in the Dhaka Premier Division Twenty20 Cricket League, he got back into the side. Sarkar further expressed that he only believes in competing with himself than anyone else.
"When I was out of the team, I practiced with purpose, particularly during the DPL T20s. I will continue to focus on certain areas of my game. I have to be more mentally fit to be more consistent," Sarkar said.
"My biggest competition is with myself. If I think of competing with others, it puts pressure on me. I want to do well myself, and get back my place in the team," he concluded.
Bangladesh will play Zimbabwe in the second T20 International at Harare Sports Club on Friday.