World Twenty20 2012 September 14, 2012

Shakib enjoying new top-order role

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal have long been mainstays of Bangladesh's batting, but Tamim has usually been in charge of providing the momentum at the top with Shakib finishing things from No. 5.

In the T20s, though, with Shakib having been bumped up to No. 3, the pair will be in charge of providing a good start. While the move potentially gives two of Bangladesh's best batsmen more time in the middle, the team will have plenty to worry about if they are both dismissed early. That, though, has happened only once in seven matches in the last three months - against Ireland.

Shakib has so far batted at his new position in six T20Is and once during the unofficial matches in Port-of-Spain, and said on Friday that he's comfortable in the new role. "If I bat in the top order, I will get more chances to score runs and more chances to face balls. I am looking forward to batting at No. 3," he said in Colombo.

Though his average is 17.71 in the seven innings batting at No. 3, he has just about done the job expected of him in several of those games - either by batting past the halfway stage to leave the team in a decent position or by staying till the end in chases.

Shakib said one of the keys to Bangladesh's success will be temperament. "There'll be some tough situations but we know how to handle it," he said. "The boys have been playing cricket constantly for a year so they'll understand how to handle the pressure and if we can do this, we'll win the matches."

Bangladesh have a mediocre record in World Twenty20s so far, but will be boosted by Tamim's resurgence as a Twenty20 opener, which has come about after he began properly understanding what his role is. A good run of recent form has seen him make his three highest Twenty20 scores in his previous four innings.

"I have been playing quite a few T20s recently, around 15-20 in the last month or so," Tamim said. "I think I am in very good shape, I understand the game better than before. I hope I can carry it into the World T20 and perform well.

"Earlier I was struggling to pace my innings. I used to attack from ball one. Now I think I am batting more cleverly - attacking as well as picking up the singles. That's how you should bat in T20s."

Bangladesh step up their preparations with a practice match against Zimbabwe on Saturday and are expected to play their best XI leading up to their first match in the tournament proper against New Zealand on September 21.