Bangladesh eyeing series win - Shakib
Shakib Al Hasan has said Bangladesh have a major opportunity to win the series against New Zealand and this increase in team's confidence has developed over the past five years with more players performing regularly. The latest in that list is Sohag Gazi, who became the first Test cricketer to score a hundred and take a hat-trick in a Test.
Shakib took the catch to complete Gazi's hat-trick, an excellent swoop from leg-slip after the ball had deflected off Mushfiqur Rahim's pad. The catch was one of the many moments in the past two years which have signified the team's growing will power after the lows of 2011. The drawn Test against New Zealand last week also pointed to the progress within the team.
Shakib said that since his international debut, the talk in the dressing-room has gone through a lot of change. He has had a major contribution to this transformation, particularly his role in the 4-0 series win over New Zealand three years ago.
"When I started six years ago, our goal was to play five days," he said. "Then it was to draw Test matches. Now we go out to win. We have been progressing as a team all along. Everything takes time. This team has been playing together for quite some time, so we have more confidence. We are looking to win this series. We have a major opportunity, so we have every reason to give it our best.
"When there are four or five performers in a team, the rest of the players then want to do well. So within everyone, there is a challenge to perform. I think it is major positive for the Bangladesh team."
Shakib hasn't necessarily stopped being a performer himself. Bangladesh's last Test win against Zimbabwe in May had two Shakib half-centuries. He struggled with the ball in the Chittagong Test match, but he has said the hunger is far from satiated. The fact that he has returned to the top of the Test allrounder rankings has been an added inspiration.
"It is easy to motivate myself when I look at the rankings. My battle is with top cricketers, but I wouldn't compare myself with anyone. Everyone wants to contribute to the team's cause. I don't think any cricketer keeps an eye on the rankings but it does feel good to be at the top."
This is his second time as top Test allrounder after he scaled the height in December 2011. While someone like Jacques Kallis gets plenty of opportunities to maintain such a position, Shakib has to do his best in the limited number of Tests that Bangladesh play. The second Test against New Zealand is one of them, and given the position of the series, there couldn't be a better time for Shakib.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here