Bangladesh with psychological edge, says Sabbir
Sabbir Rahman believes Pakistanis' one-wicket loss to BCB XI will play on the visitors' mind when they begin the ODI series against Bangladesh on Friday. Sabbir's attacking 123 helped the home side get close to the win, after which the tailenders managed to squeeze in the remaining runs.
"We break down mentally when we lose a practice match abroad," Sabbir said. "Pakistan might be having the same thought process, which will have some effect on the first game. We will try to play better cricket there.
"I think it is a big occasion. They are a big team. Beating them in the practice match will help us in the main series. But they have some very good bowlers. I think I batted well today though they did miss one chance off my bat."
Sabbir said that Bangladesh's confidence had carried over from their World Cup campaign, where they achieved their goal of reaching the quarter-finals, and praised Imrul Kayes for his support during their 124-run stand after four wickets had fallen cheaply.
"We did well in the World Cup so now our confidence is much better. We will have to make use of it in this series," he said. "Imrul bhai gave me good support. I could play freely. I just thought I would hit any ball there to be hit. I will stay positive, which helped me and the team.
"I will always make sure my team gets one more run from my bat. I am feeling great to have won the game with the century. This is my first century against a big team, so I don't really have a list to recall my best century. I really enjoyed the innings. I played my natural game."
Sabbir made the century batting at No. 4, but when asked if he has a preference in the senior team, he said he was happy batting anywhere at the moment. "I don't want to talk about my batting position. The team management knows where I should play. I will try to put my contribution for the team's cause, from whichever position I am given. We have some very good batsmen at No 4 and 5."
Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan opener who made 85 in the practice match, had high praise for Sabbir, having never seen him bat before.
"It was one of the best innings you will witness as a viewer," Hafeez said. "He didn't panic. He basically dominated the bowling. He backed himself whatever he was playing. It worked for him. It was a very good knock and I hope that this knock will give him more confidence and maturity to take to the international arena. I watched him for the first time. I think he was the only person who dominated that time after three wickets were down. He played a wonderful knock."
Pakistan have only one day before they start the ODI series, which is stacked with very little gap between matches. The first ODI is on April 17, followed by the second on April 19, and the third on April 22.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84