Bangladesh news November 9, 2013

'Playing well on foreign soil our next challenge' - Shakib

Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh allrounder who missed his side's successful ODI campaign against New Zealand with dengue fever, has said his team's next challenge is to do well away from home.

The fever weakened Shakib physically - he has lost three kilos - but he did follow the matches even while being treated in a hospital. He requires at least another two weeks to fully recover from the illness, after which the doctors will decide on the next course of medication.

Shakib remains a huge part of Bangladesh's plans, but they managed to win the series without him. He believes all this progress means they now have to take their game to the next level. "We now have to do well on foreign soil," Shakib said. "We did well in Sri Lanka earlier this year. Similarly, we have to do well in one or two other countries, and then slowly in every country. Playing well on foreign soil will be our next challenge.

"There are a lot of performers in the team. We have been consistent at home over the last two years. We are a very strong side here, we have beaten almost all the sides except Pakistan. We have been winning quite regularly, not once in ten games."

Like many others have pointed out, Shakib also said Bangladesh's teamwork was a major gain from the New Zealand series. The likes of Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain and Shamsur Rahman stepped up whenever the need arose for a match-winning performance. Naeem replaced Shakib after it was clear that the latter would have to remain in hospital for a few days.

"Naeem bhai had a tough job to do, because he sat out both Tests. He was suddenly called up but he found confidence after doing well in the first game, and took that to the next two games. He was rightly rewarded for his hard work.

"It wasn't just him who did well. [Shamsur Rahman] Shuvo bhai was new to the team but he played a splendid innings. Rubel got six wickets, Mushfiqur batted well in the first game. Someone or the other stood up at the time of the team's need. These things happen in the better teams around the world."

Daniel Vettori's absence made a difference for New Zealand, he said. Vettori has taken 84 wickets in 30 matches across formats against Bangladesh, and without him the visitors' spin attack was compromised from the onset. Vettori also averages 32.11 with the bat against Bangladesh.

Shakib even said that his absence didn't make as much of a difference to Bangladesh, as did Vettori's for New Zealand. "It mattered a lot that they didn't have Vettori. They also missed [Martin] Guptill and [Jesse] Ryder but Vettori's absence made the big difference, mainly because we were their opponents. Vettori doesn't just bowl well against us, he has bothered us with the bat too.

"I can't do it all alone from our team. We used to win because I had some others performing alongside me. But Vettori used to finish us off on his own, especially in Test cricket."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

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