Under-19 World Cup 2016 February 1, 2016

Prankster Shawon unfazed by big stage

Saleh Ahmed Shawon is fidgety, unlike the mostly calm Nazmul Hossain Shanto or the bright-eyed Bangladesh Under-19s captain Mehedi Hasan Miraz. The left-arm spinner is the Bangladesh team's prankster, making wisecracks and keeping everyone cheerful, while at times, by his own admission, being the victim of his team-mates' pranks. Despite his antics, Shawon has been the team's leading wicket-taker since January last year, with 53 dismissals at 16.01 in 30 matches.

He doesn't look at one person for too long and his hands are constantly fidgeting, but he did stand still for the duration of the press briefing. The bowler has also started to like the big stage, and draws motivation from the crowd cheering his name.

"I always try to keep my team-mates amused, I joke around, especially when I see someone down," Shawon said. "I try to poke him, ask him what's wrong. And they, too, have fun at my expense. I also find a lot of motivation playing in front of a crowd where they are calling out my name and cheering us. Maybe some people take it as pressure, but I like it."

While bowling, he has the run-up of a front-on bowler but slides into a side-on action and flights the ball consistently. He has set himself a target of finishing as one of the leading wicket-takers in this tournament, although he admitted his primary job was to keep the runs down.

"In team meetings, we have been told to keep the runs in check," he said. "I don't go for wickets. I just want to keep it to 20-25 in my ten overs. [Getting a] Wicket is a matter of luck. We think that our bowling attack can defend a score like 240, which will be hard for any opponent in any condition.

"My target is to be among the top five wicket-takers in the tournament, or if possible the highest wicket-taker."

Shawon stated that in a bid to keep the players under less pressure, the team management had told them to approach the World Cup as a set of two three-match series'. Personally, though, he doesn't seem too nervous about the big stage.

"We are looking at it as a series, not a World Cup. We shouldn't be tensed about playing a World Cup, that's what our captain and vice-captain have told us ahead of the tournament," he said. "We have divided it into two three-match series. So we have the three matches in the group stage, and three in the knockout. If we can win six, we can win the World Cup.

"It is not really possible to think this way but it is about believing it yourself, you get what I'm saying?"

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • take-it-easy on February 2, 2016, 21:01 GMT

    @LEFTHANDOPENER, fitstly, what are you doing here, still moaning over what bd did to your team. We have world class players theres no need proving anything to you whi has no cricket knowledge. Worry about your team who was whitewashes in Aus. We beated your team so poorly they could even fight, we beated SA with big margin and that SA made your time like a minnow at your home. So do proper reaserch before insulting our world class players.

  • LEFTHANDEDOPENER on February 2, 2016, 10:41 GMT

    @asiancricket1234 & bahamut can you guys pls tell me which bangla spinner or fast bowler in top 10 icc ranking or any batsmen. No one in odi or t20 top10 ranking even afghan batman in top1p t20 batsman list. Bangla playing cricket since last 20 years still not win single test against major team also recently they loose to even Zimbabwe in t20. That is the reason i m saying bangla players don't have quality to win major turnaments.

  • asiacricket1234 on February 2, 2016, 10:07 GMT

    @LEFTHANDOPENER: he is good enough to take wicket and that's what matters. As for our senior spinners, they have done well in recent years as well. Must be hard for people like you though, you have been whining about us in every post. Does it hurt to see us winning. Feel sorry for you man.

  • Bahamut on February 2, 2016, 9:49 GMT

    @LEFTHANDOPENER He took 55 wickets off 31 matches in youth ODI already, so by your logic it shouldve been double or more per match if he turned it in a turning track? Especially since U-19 team spend half of last year playing abroad (you could be forgiven for not being able to see it live"? Same could be said about BD's international spinners. Your knowledge of pitch and spinners performances amuses me. "Hahaha" is on yourself kiddo.

  • LEFTHANDEDOPENER on February 2, 2016, 6:40 GMT

    "My target is to be among the top five wicket-takers in the tournament, or if possible the highest wicket-taker." Hahaha this guy don't even turn the ball on turning track (same like bangla senior spinners) and he want to become highest wicket taker what a joke. Someone pls tell this guys you cannot say anything which is out of your capacity.

  • Mahmud Miah on February 1, 2016, 16:00 GMT

    Keep it up boys! you are the hero of the nation.

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