Bangladesh v India, 3rd ODI, Mirpur June 23, 2015

Nasir enjoying bowling surge

Play 00:56
'We won't give an inch' - Nasir

Bangladesh's Nasir Hossain mixed up a Bengali proverb while explaining his presence, and success, as the side's lone offspinner in the ODIs against India. The proverb, translated roughly, is, "A fox is the king of a jungle where there is no tiger." Nasir, on the other hand, ended up using a slightly docile analogy.

"When there isn't a tiger in the jungle, the cat becomes the tiger," Nasir said. "I think [Mashrafe Mortaza] said I am the best offspinner because there aren't any other offspinners in our team. I think I am bowling slightly better these days. I have been working with Ruwan Kalpage on my bowling. I always did and still enjoy it."

Nasir's accuracy and economy has helped Bangladesh balance a surprisingly pace-heavy attack in the ongoing ODI series against India. Since his return to the side this year after missing out on the Zimbabwe series in November 2014, Nasir's off spin has been used regularly by captain Mashrafe Mortaza, even though his primary role in the side is in the batting department. In the series against India, Nasir has taken 2 wickets for 64 runs at an economy rate of 3.84. The second ODI, where he finished with figures of 2 for 33, was the second time he had bowled a full quota of overs in ODIs.

"I always had the confidence. I think I didn't bowl much before because there were others who used to bowl regularly, like (Mahmudullah) Riyad bhai," he said. "I have bowled my full quota for Abahani (in the domestic one-day competition) this season.

"Mashrafe bhai tells me not to think of myself as an occasional bowler but a main bowler. These words always inspire me."

Bangladesh's unassailable 2-0 series lead means that the possibility of a 3-0 win - their second series sweep in 2015 - looms large. They have so far handed out 11 clean sweeps, including the last two home series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Nasir said the 3-0 win over Pakistan in April was an inspiration for the series against India.

"We spoke in the dressing-room just before going out to train(on Tuesday)," he said. "We have been told to be as serious as we would be if we had lost the first two games. We will not give an inch.

"The Pakistan series gave us a lot of confidence. We have tried to use it against India. If we play to our potential, I hope we can beat India."

Nasir said that the winning habit is now being imbibed by the current lot of Bangladesh players but the team will not become a top side until they can perform similarly for the next couple of years in conditions at home and overseas.

"We have been playing together for a long time and I think we have become a good team," he said. "We have formed a habit of playing well in the last few series. We will try to continue on this.

"I still wouldn't say we have become a big side. We are playing in home conditions. To be a top side, we have to play like this for 2-3 years."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments