Bangladesh news January 12, 2016

T20 skills in focus at Bangladesh's base camp

Shakib said much of Bangladesh's focus going into the T20 series against Zimbabwe will be to identify an ideal combination heading into the T20 season © Associated Press

The ball would suddenly trampoline from within the white shade, destination either the nearby stands at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna, or towards journalists and policemen standing in front of the dressing room and on a few occasions, the dressing room window panes. The shots were of a left-hander trying to play a dinky pull, and top-edging several.

Some of those edges flew well over the pavilion building and those that connected nearly took out some of the journalists crowding around an area in front of square-leg. Shakib Al Hasan was the left-handed batsman who shrieked every time he couldn't connect any of the shots over his right shoulder. Only the top of his bat could be seen if the ball was too high. He ended up crashing two glasses, one near the entrance of the Bangladesh dressing-room and the other on the floor above.

Before Shakib, it was Tamim Iqbal who went through this drill with the ball blasting out of the bowling machine and pitching on a granite plate placed on short of a length. Balls were repeatedly flicked towards the leg side, with a cloth patch in place to prevent the ball from bursting through the torn nets.

At practice on Monday, Chandika Hathurusingha conducted a long session that was all about specific skills like throwing on the turn, playing specific shots, taking catches at deep midwicket and sweeper cover. Later, Shakib said, the focus would shift to the four-match T20 series against Zimbabwe starting January 15.

"As of now we are only focused on trying to increase our skills," Shakib said. "We are also trying to figure out what type of team we should be playing. We will think about the game plan from day after tomorrow [Tuesday]."

Bangladesh have been hard at work since January 8 and will stay back for nine more days in Khulna after the T20 series ends on January 22.

With Afghanistan having beaten Zimbabwe in ODIs and T20s earlier this week, there were the odd murmurs over the quality of the opposition, but Shakib believes Bangladesh are not short of motivation and must look to improve regularly. "We don't need to be motivated particularly," he said. "All of us playing for Bangladesh are motivated, so we don't really think about it. But everyone tries to improve themselves. If you look at Ronaldo or Messi, they have been the two best footballers in the world for the last 7 or 8 years. So as cricketers, we also have the challenge to improve from the previous day."

Much of Bangladesh's focus in their successful 2015 was on ODI cricket. Now they start the new year playing T20s exclusively, and as such their training method has had to go through some changes. How much it keeps evolving to be more and more attuned to T20s is going to be an interesting point as they gear up for their first of three 20-over assignments.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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